back to article Beatles on iTunes? 'Don't hold your breath' says Yoko

John Lennon's widow has put the kibosh on rumors that Apple Corps' Beatles catalog might arrive on Apple Inc's iTunes online music store anytime soon. "Don't hold your breath ... for anything," Yoko Ono was quoted as saying in an interview with Reuters when asked about the Beatles joining the Jobsian CD-killer. Rumors of the …


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  1. Joe User

    More appropriate lyrics

    The best things in life are free

    But you can keep them for the birds and bees

    Now give me money

    That's what I want

    That's what I want, yeah

    That's what I want

  2. Electric Panda

    Might have happened last year

    Rumour was that the announcement was going to be Steve's "One more thing..." at last year's iPod conference.

    Yoko may or may not have let it slip the previous day, so the announcement was pulled and the deal was off the table.

    This, some believe, is why the anti-climactic iPod nano camera seems to have been shoved into the presentation as an afterthought.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (I) Imagine

    EMI have been selling The Beatles' oeuvre digitally for a couple of decades, if I must be pedantic about it.

    Now, excuse me while I eat some cars...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone really care?

    Other than the Beatle's accountants, does anyone give a monkey's?

    Were they really that great or this simply a marketing gimmick put out by droids who think we give a monkey’s wotnot? Yes I’m sure they were great in their day, I’m sure they were pioneers of their time. However let’s face it, they have as much relevance to today’s listening public as a pink bicycle does to an ant-eater!

    1. Arctic fox

      If ignorance is bliss then a posting like that.......

      indicates a very happy little bunny. The Beatles are arguably the most important pop-band of all time. Their combined sales alone indicate their influence. When the remastered collection was launched a while back it had huge sales and is continuing to do extremely well. Lennon and Macartney are widely regarded as two of the most influential popular music writers of the entire 20th Century. Anything more you wanted to bleat?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you like...

        ...hideous, whining, nasal dirges then yes.

        Personally whenever I hear the Beatles I switch off...

      2. JonHendry

        Damned with faint praise

        "The Beatles are arguably the most important pop-band of all time."

        So they tower above their peers Girls Aloud and Right Said Fred.

        That's like being the tallest dwarf or the smartest moron.

        1. Brezin Bardout

          'That's like being the tallest dwarf or the smartest moron.'

          Or the most insightful commentard?

    2. Adrian Esdaile

      Um, no, sorry, you're wrong.

      Er, I think you'll find Cliff Richard was the pioneer of that time, by about 10 years.

      "Before Cliff Richard and the Shadows there was nothing worth listening to in British music" - J. Lennon.

      Only act (along with Elvis) to make UK singles #1 in it's first 6 decades - the Beatles didn't achieve that.

      Biggest selling singles artist OF ALL TIME in the UK.

      And can still do a 2+ hour concert and get down!

      And you can buy his stuff through iTunes, too!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The point?

    Firstly, I'll get this out the way, I fail to see why getting the Beatles on the service is so important. First, they weren't that good and second surely all the people who care about their music will want something better than compressed tracks?

    And, the longer they keep holding out on iTunes the less people are going to care - anyone who'd want to download the tracks will have bought the CDs and ripped them.

    I guess it's just another example of people who control something they think is "so important" that they miss the boat through greed.

  6. RipRagged


    I have all The Beatles songs I want, ripped from CDs already in my iTunes library. Everyone who considers The Beatles worth the effort already has the whole catalog on their hard drives and iPods.

    All this bickering is going to do is ensure that the Beatles become less and less relevant. Also, it will pretty much guarantee that Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Mrs. Harrison miss out on tons of money while the songs are downloaded for free from the torrents. Steve Jobs and Apple lose nothing except the cachet of selling 40+ year-old music from a defunct band whose former members and members widows are taking themselves far too seriously.

    1. Blain Hamon


      Maybe Yoko isn't satisfied with just breaking up the band, and she wants to hold out until they're totally and fully dead and irrelevant.

  7. Efros

    'Don't hold your breath' says Yoko

    Wish she would hers!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Me too

      I had the misfortune of catching her performing an impromptu/secret gig at Nag Nag Nag back in the day. My ears have still not entirely uncringed.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Why are we waiting..... etc etc

    Seriously WTF?

    Like many other people I've been waiting for the Beatles digital back catalogue for YEARS and I'll be buying the whole lot if / when it's finally available, I wonder if they realise how much money they're missing out on and how many people are waiting for this!

    It's not like we can't 'illegally' rip most of it or get it from torrents already if we're that way inclined so basically they have nothing to loose, seriously what a bunch of muppets!

    Looks like I'll be making do with my fragmented collection recorded from old vinyl for a while longer then, ah well at least the static keeps it sounding authentic...

    1. Matt Piechota

      Remember me on this computer

      "It's not like we can't 'illegally' rip most of it or get it from torrents already if we're that way inclined so basically they have nothing to loose, seriously what a bunch of muppets!"

      ???? Are you saying it's illegal to go buy the CD box set and import them into MP3/FLAC/OGG?

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        @ Matt Piechota

        >> Are you saying it's illegal to go buy the CD box set and import them into MP3/FLAC/OGG?

        UK Situation

        Actually yes. Or more technically, it is not a permitted activity and you would be breaching copyright law to do it - which is only a civil offence (ie someone can sue you for losses, but its not a criminal act).

        However, the Digital Economy act forced through by the last government in their last ditch attempt to screw as many people as much as possible before they were booted out, did (IIRC) include some measure to make these civil matters criminal - though I can't recall what they were and how far they went.

        So, technically it is unlawful to rip a CD to your computer and/or portable player. In practical terms it would be highly unlikely that you would a) be caught, or b) suffer any consequences. Certainly it would be "difficult" for any rights holder to claim that they'd lost money as a result of you **paying** for a CD and then ripping it for your own convenience - but that of course assumes a certain level of logical thinking on the part of the "music industry" legal pitbulls.

        1. Wallyb132

          This it a title! for the love of god...

          "Actually yes. Or more technically, it is not a permitted activity and you would be breaching copyright law to do it"

          By reading this statement, am i to guess that you folks living on the little island on the other side of the pond dont believe in fair use?

          And before any of you non-lawyer chime in, Yes fair use does include format shifting, here in the US...

          1. Anonymous Coward


            What does the US definition of "fair use" have to do with UK law?

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Maybe EMI will one day change their minds and say "We Can Work It Out"

  10. Ian Davies


    Anyone (band, record company, fans) who thinks this still matters is insane. They *could* have made a fat wad out of definitive re-mastered digital editions about 3 years ago, but they've blown it.

    Anyone who cared before has by now either bought the CDs or got them from torrents.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Beatles were so big and have made so much money they're practically public domain, so far as I'm concerned.

    I own a few nice Beatles DVDs and records, but I'm certainly in no hurry to spend any money on their mp3s.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Legal dedinition?

      So, in your book, things like IBM, the British National Health Service, Indian Railways, even Apple and Microsoft, ... all public domain, eh?

  12. Anonymous John

    Will you still need me, will you download me,

    When you're ninety-four.

    1. famousringo

      The BitTorrent version goes

      'Will you still need me, will you still seed me.'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        ♫ dowload it using Tor ♫

  13. Monko

    Lossless, Maybe?

    She obviously does not need more money. Is she holding out until Itunes offers lossless format? It's the legacy thing...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    ... got all I wanted from the 'Kazaa shop' years ago

  15. Tom 35

    Bought the original CDs

    They are already on my ipod. Could not be bothered to buy the *new and improved* CDs that they released a while back.

    I paid once (twice for some I bought on LP) not paying again for MP3s so I don't much care.

    I expect EMI don't want to release them as single tracks. Quite a few of the albums include a lot of crap that no one will buy if they don't have to. Instead of selling 6 albums they will sell 10 tracks. They days of fluffing up 3 tracks with a bunch of crap and calling it an album are over EMI.

    1. Bryce Prewitt

      10 listenable tracks on 6 albums?

      Oh, I'm just gagging to know what those ten tracks are and on what six albums they're on. If you can point me to one Beatles album that is more than a 4th filler then I'll eat my hat. I say this and I'm not even a card-carrying member of the Beatles fanaticism club.

      The Beatles were one of those rare bands whose b-sides were even better than their a-sides, and their a-sides were light years beyond anyone else's.

      Look, you can dislike the Beatles all you want, but don't start prattling on as if your opinion is accepted fact. The Beatles are to 20th century music what Mozart was to classical composition. It's time to accept that and move on - the fact that you don't like some of their tunes isn't their problem, it's yours.

      I'm not even going to fucking touch that "new and improved" bit. You don't even listen to music, do you?

      1. Tom 35
        Thumb Down

        member of the Beatles fanaticism club

        Did you read my post?

        I didn't say "10 listenable tracks on 6 albums" I said that someone who might buy 6 albums (to get the songs they really want) might only buy 10 tracks if they could choose to ONLY buy what they want. They might buy single tracks that are not on the 6 albums because it is worth it "to them" to pay for the track but not worth it to buy an album for one track.

        Where do you get "dislike the Beatles" from? Did you not notice I said that I bought ALL of the original CDs and some LPs? I even have the limited numbered White Album. I must dislike them a lot eh?

        Yes it's my opinion, and like it or not it's worth just as much as yours. And there are lots of other people who have their own opinion, they might only like a few tracks, and would never buy an album, and yet their opinion is just as valid as yours or mine.

        Speaking of opinion... "The Beatles are to 20th century music what Mozart was to classical composition. It's time to accept that and move on". So I should except your opinion as the word of God? What was that about not a member of the Beatles fanaticism club again?

        I'm not even going to fucking touch that "You don't even listen to music, do you" bit. :P

        1. Anonymous Coward

          eh. caaaalm down (as all the beatles would say)

          Calm down boys. In the cold light of day - I'm sure you both realise that we all love music. Some people are more ignorant of the vast depth and variety in music than others. The same is true in all art forms from Music to Video. So let's all rejoice in the fact that you love music, I love music. Everybody loves music. Whether you own the full back catalog of the Beatles, whether you are a grade 57 pianist or you just like whistling yankee doodle dandy on the way to work in the morning - you experience and pleasure of music is just as valid as anyone else's and you should never criticise the depth of someone's appreciate for an art.

          Now we all like a few Beatles tracks. But don't give Paul McCartney any more money to fritter away on divorce lawyers when there are many new and upcoming artists on iTunes to whom a few sales means all of the world.

          So don't buy any more Beatles music. Spend your money on new and upcoming artists on iTunes. They need your money. The Beatles don't - your parent's already gave them 100s of pounds. That is why Mr McCartney is worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

          I love the Beatles music - and I paid for it on Vinyl, Cassette and CD and that's why feel entitled to day this:

          The fact is that there is a place for Beatles music - it's in the bargain bin down your local pound shop and that's an end of it.

        2. Bryce Prewitt


          "Quite a few of the albums include a lot of crap that no one will buy if they don't have to. Instead of selling 6 albums they will sell 10 tracks. They days of fluffing up 3 tracks with a bunch of crap and calling it an album are over EMI."

          So... what were you saying again?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    but... but... but...

    ... we've all heard it already.

    It's all over our frikiin' music psyche - enough it enough!

    We don't need no more beatles cobblers guv, take them away, make the nightmare stop...

    ... macca is on-stage now dad dancing. I can't take it... make it stop mommy.... mommy? ... mom?

  17. cashback


    who gives a shit ?

  18. Stiggy

    In any case...

    Unless the law changes in the meantime, the UK copyrights will start expiring from 2013 onwards.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: In any case

      Thanks for the heads up. (The rest of you might want to take a look at So the 50s are already out of copyright and the 60s start here. :)

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Um, I've already got it.

    I already have most of the Beatles catalogue in my iTunes.

    I have the albums on vinyl... but I couldn't be arsed recording them, so I just downloaded the MP3s from... somewhere...

    Hello? EMI? You morons! I would have BOUGHT them from iTunes, had they been available, but you were too fscking slow. I found them on my own.

    Thanks for playing, maybe go and reconsider your entire business plan? It doesn't work in the digital age. Goodbye.

    Anonymous, I don't want the Russian Mafiya knocking on my door!

  20. Jerome 0
    Thumb Up


    Why bother selling your dead husband's music when you can sell his image for advertising instead?

    1. Oliver 7


      Ha ha!

  21. James O'Shea

    Yoko can bite me

    The last (the very last) music CD I ever bought was the Beatles' compilation album 1, which I got shortly after it first became available. (Yes, it's been that long since I paid for a CD. If the record industry wakes up and makes CD prices something closer to being reasonable perhaps I'll reconsider. Yoko had best not hold her breath waiting, though.) The first thing I did once I got the disc home was to put it on my system. iTunes was not then available and it's been so long that I can't remember what app I did use. I actually parked the full-size AIFFs on a hard drive. When i got better software I re-ripped the album using those AIFFs; I've actually 'played' the disc exactly twice, once being when I copied over the AIFFs in the first place, once when I did a disc-to-disc copy to a CD-R so that I had a disc I could play without risking damage to the original. (Always have a backup, and if the music companies don't like it, they know the address, come and do something...) Around the same time I started moving my old vinyl LPs to digital format, starting with my Beatles LPs. So I've had digital versions, including my very own hand-built CD compilation albums, of every Beatles song I care about for approaching a decade now. Same for the Stones, Led Zep, Queen, et bloody cetera. I don't need to hold my breath waiting for iTunes to carry the Beatles, I already have every song of theirs I care about in the 80+ GB of MP3s and M4As on my main home machine's hard drive.

  22. Giles Jones Gold badge


    There's just so many other people involved in this deal beside band members. There's only two Beatles still alive and neither of them really need the money.

    What is really at stake is people who don't have as much money wanting to line their pockets.

    What the consumer is missing out on is the chance to just cherry pick specific songs. It's something Pink Floyd don't like as they considered each song to be a chapter and the whole record a novel.

    But the rest of us don't like buying albums with filler tracks.

    1. Oliver 7

      Seeing as you mention Floyd...

      And then one day you find,

      Ten years have got behind you.

      No one told you when to run,

      You missed the starting gun.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton



    Poor Yoko (!?!) wanting another silver dollar?

    Had she loved, really loved, the creative talent that is, was and forever will be John Lennon, then she'd grasp, push and promote Apple on Apple as a means to promote, share and give the genius she shared, loved and adored with.

    On the other hand there is advice from accountants, (huck-phew) and investment managers (ditto) plus the ordinance factor of hold out while the cash-cow for the cow (?) maxes out sometime soon?

  24. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Up

    Oh callow youth

    You see, what you have to remember - or - you just don't know, is that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were the vanguard of their generation. Seriously. Nobody had ever done what they did before. Personally, I was a Stones fan (we were that divided), but neither I or anyone else can deny the influence that The Beatles (and their component parts) had on contemporary music. To dismiss their input is to be crass!.

    Now, on the other subject about 'tracks' versus 'albums' - you have to understand the format in which the music was released. Sure there maybe some duff or less popular tracks on an album, but albums were released with a great deal of regard to the tunes included and their running order. We bought the album the played it end to end, usually with friends listening in too.

    One of my best memories is of John Peel (may he live forever) playing the entire 'Electric Ladyland' album by one Jimi Hendrix, on his show end to end - which was how it was (and is) meant to be played!

    1. CD001

      Stones vs Beatles

      In the Stones vs Beatles debate - I'd have been the one person who listened to the Velvet Underground instead ;)

    2. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Way to go

      "You see, what you have to remember - or - you just don't know, is that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were the vanguard of their generation."

      Yeah - thats what some of those posting here very clearly do not have a clue about. Plus the fact of those bands influence on a good deal of the music which the "younger generation" rave about today. (The Stones included even though I was first and foremost a Beatles fan!). Bands like that were a massive game changer in an era when the massproduction of recorded popular music really took off. The sixties was the decade when a "record player" in every home was something completely new, something that many blogging here do not have a clue about (not even sure whether some of them would understand the expression "record player"!).

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Local Library

    It would, of course, be totally illegal to go down to your local library, get a few beatles CDs out and rip em.

    So I wouldn't suggest that you do that.

    Saves waiting around for the music industry to pull its fingers out and offer the music as downloads though

    (Normally i buy the music I download)

  26. Why

    Actually, we're not into music, we're into chaos


    I wonder if John Peel played the Sex Pistols NMTB, all the way through when that was first released? I Doubt it somehow but I hope that he was at least allowed to play the band's tribute to their first record company, Who?


    And Jimi Hendrix was on Track Records if I recall correctly.

    Grenade! Just for the loud explosion!

  27. Anonymous Coward

    loads of mp3 rips around

    I have a, er, a friend, who got his mp3 rips of the beatles long before torrenting/limewire/edonkey/etc became so well known.

    If the beatles hit itunes now I will laugh like a drain when then the world shrugs with a who cares any more attitude.

    Of course, the mafiaa will continue to decry how piracy is depriving the artists of a living when it's actually the mafiaa's overpaid execs and the lawyers that are being funded by the honourable people who pay for music.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Apple Corp v Apple Inc

    The obvious point which is in the 1st para but everyone here seems to be missing is the use of the Apple trademark. Apple Corp have repeatedly taken Apple Inc to court to defend their use of the trademark as a music label. If they enter an agreement to allow Apple Inc (formally a maker of electronics) to publish their own music as a music distributor, it would make it much more difficult to defend that trademark in future. I suspect the negotiations are really about the protection of (from Apple Inc) or possible sale of (to Apple Inc) the Apple trademark as at applies to music distribution.

    Of course IANAL etc.

    1. Piers
      Thumb Up

      That comment... rather astute. Hat tip to you sir.

      Tomorrow never knows....

      (had to be said!)

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Fuck iTunes.

    I'd rather eat even more worms than let that crock of single threaded trash mess up my music on the computer.


  30. Yorkshirepudding
    Jobs Horns

    solution to a problem that shouldnt have happened

    1) buy cd cheap off play et all

    2) rip CD


    4) PROFIT! uh no hang on music on your mp3 player

  31. A J Stiles

    Sooner or later copyrights expire

    Sooner or later the copyrights on the recordings will expire anyway, and there's nothing anyone can do about that. Once they are in the Public Domain, anyone will be able to sell them.

    Even if copyrights were extended, that would only apply to copyrights created *after* the law changed. Retroactively extending an existing copyright would contravene Nulla Poena Sine Lege.

  32. Seanmon

    Who cares?

    Got a whole collection of Beatles stuff already, in a cupboard at me Mum and Dad's. They're stored on these weird big black things with some seriously odd encryption. Some are even marked "mono" - some kind of highly sophisticated compression technique I'm assuming.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    To quote Steve Jones...

    "I was only a nipper when the Beatles was on the go, but I was fuckin glad when they broke up!"

    Pirate flag for the good ship Venus

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