We know for a fact that Apple Corps and EMI have scheduled the worldwide release of the original Beatles catalog — digitally remastered for the first time — in compact disc format on 09/09/09, an event timed to coincide with MTV Games’ release of The Beatles: Rock Band. (Press release here.)
And thanks to Jeff Howe’s long piece in the current issue of
, we have the back story of how the Beatles became a video game — a tale that begins with a meeting between George Harrison’s son Dhani and Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks, on a secluded Caribbean beach nearly three years ago, long before Rock Band was released and became a hit.
It’s a fascinating glimpse into the complexities involved in doing anything new with the Beatles’ musical legacy, whether putting the songs in video game format or bringing them, at long last, to the iTunes music store.
Take, for example, this passage from Howe’s piece:
And then there’s Yoko. Howe’s story ends with a scene that reads like something Fake Steve Jobs had already imagined:
Steve Jobs, of course, is a great Beatles fan and was negotiating for digital rights to the catalog long before MTV Networks got into the act — negotiations complicated by the fact that Apple had been in and out of litigation with Apple Corps since 1978.
But to imagine that Apple Inc. would stage Jobs’ return to coincide with the remastered CDs, the Rock Band game, and an announcement that the Beatles have come to iTunes … well, that’s pure speculation.
Below: A trailer for The Beatles: Rock Band, courtesy of