iTunes Store may have an exclusive on The Beatles digital downloads today. But that special treatment will only last “in to 2011”, EMI Music spokesperson Dylan Jones tells paidContent:UK.
That means other music download retailers like Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) MP3, eMusic and Napster will negotiate, or already have been, to carry Beatles tracks at some point in the New Year.
Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and EMI are no strangers to exclusives together. When EMI gave its higher-bitrate repertoire exclusively to Apple back in 2007, it was only a month before other digital music retailers got the files, too. So if there is any significant money left to be made from Beatles music digitally, it could radiate out to more than just Apple.
Rhapsody tells us: “While the details behind the agreements Apple has made with EMI are too scant for us to comment on any specific plans to carry the Beatles catalogue, the Beatles are obviously one of the world’s most influential bands, so we would certainly be interested in offering Beatles music to our subscribers once it becomes available.”
We7 tells us it has not yet entered discussions with rightsholders.
iTunes Store’s peers were aware of the Apple exclusive ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, our sources suggest.
Though exclusivity ends, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean streaming services could join download services in a free-for-all. It’s possible rightsholders have limited even post-exclusive availability to individual track downloads so they can profit more greatly from larger royalty tiers.
In so far as the streaming segment is separate from the download segment, The Beatles is a signature Spotify may fancy for offering to its premium subscribers. The service tells us: “It’s great to see The Fab Four move into the digital sphere and is a big step towards having their music made available on a wider variety of digital platforms, including Spotify, in the future.”