iTunes, Beatles, Streaming - What's The Story?

Tomorrow at 10:00 am Eastern Apple is making an announcement they believe none of us will soon forget. What is the announcement? Apple really isn't giving us any hints. There is much speculation, but with Apple speculation is a way of life. There are those that think a streaming service is coming. In May Apple registered iTunes Live as a trademark. Recently a bit of code was found in iTunes 10.1, just released, that references iTunes Live URL streaming. There is also the huge data center in North Carolina and of course their acquisition of Lala, which Apple quickly shutdown. Yet if music industry sources can be believed, Apple doesn't have the rights to stream music and there are those that think the labels have no desire to give Apple those rights and that much ownership of music.

Others, now led by the Wall Street Journal, that say the big announcement is about The Beatles coming to iTunes. This has been rumored for many years, most recently before the September media event. Apple only recently ended their years old battle with Apple Records over the iTunes music service. Apple agreed years ago that they would stay out of Music and Apple Records wouldn't sue them. That issue was put to bed with an unnamed settlement. The remaining rights holders to the Beatles catalog have not jumped at the chance at going digital, Yoko Ono seeming making it clear that we shouldn't hold our breath. We know this, the announcement is about iTunes. It's probably a world wide release. We know it will be at 10 am Eastern, 7 am Pacific. We know nothing more for sure.

What do I think? I think Apple may have over played their hand. It's looking likely that what we will hear is The Beatles. Probably some special holiday deal too. I think it will be in most major markets. I also think that the blogosphere and the Twittershere will go nuts with negativity. They want streaming, and the announcement leads itself to look like a big change is coming to iTunes. Since 10.1 was just released it seems unlikely.

Here is what I hope. The Beatles are coming to iTunes, and their entire catalog will be the first available as part of the streaming service. This will echo when CDs came out and Thr Beatles had the first commercial CD. That would make serious waves and be a reason we won't forget tomorrow.

That's what I hope, but it doesn't seem likely. That though is what hope is all about. In less than 12 hours we will know.