updated 10:00 am EDT, Mon June 23, 2008
Beatles Guitar Hero Rumor
The Beatles are close to securing a deal that would see their first digital music releases through music games rather than direct downloads from iTunes or or similar stores, says the Financial Times. The UK business paper claims sources who say that the pop rock group may have deals "in a matter of weeks" that bring songs to Guitar Hero maker Activision as well as to Rock Band co-creator MTV Games. While no specifics are mentioned, the deal suggests a Beatles-themed title and alludes to the possibility of making Beatles songs available as downloadable content.
While no involved parties will publicly confirm or deny the talks, the alleged deal would require the approval of the Beatles' own Apple Corps, their parent label EMI, and Sony/ATV, the owner of most Beatles copyrights. However, any agreement would be valued at "several million" US dollars.
The move would also be crucial to translating the Beatles' songs into a non-CD digital format, which has yet to take place. The group's Sir Paul McCartney has predicted a 2008 launch but has said that contracts and the final setup stages themselves have prevented a quick launch; the surviving band members and the estates of George Harrison and John Lennon are said to want an ideal release.
Apple Corps chief Jeff Jones has been more "active" than late founding member Neil Aspinall was in moving the digital conversion process, the paper says.
The Times article doesn't explain the motivation that would lead to a release of some songs as game-ready pieces rather than traditional music, though Sony/ATV head Martin Bandier notes that permission to play Beatles covers during American Idol has spurred a renewed interest in the music through alternate channels, including as soundtracks and through cellphone carriers.