There was much speculation Apple (AAPL) would use last month's MacWorld to announce the addition of Beatles music to iTunes. Instead, Steve Jobs held up an iPhone, loaded with Beatles tunes, while Beatles graphics and music play onstage. Presumably the tracks came from his CD collection. (Yeah, right!) (Photo from eWeek.com)
Apple Recon has also reported there will be some sort of Apple "event" on Feb. 20. This has not been confirmed by the company. (In an earlier version of this post, I said the company had formally scheduled an announcement for the end of the month. I was wrong.) There is lots more speculation about Apple and that date here.
This week, Apple Inc. and the Apple Corps Ltd. announce an agreement bringing this statement from the Beatles music company manager, "The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us." (This is also the guy who would have the new tracks from the vault.)
Yesterday, Steve Jobs published Thoughts on Music. "DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy."
He is trying to build support, perhaps inside the music industry, for sales of unprotected tracks by pointing out that CDs are unprotected so what economic sense does it make to lock digital tracks? Is it even conceivable that in negotiating with Apple Corps, the subject of the Beatles on iTunes wasn't on the table? Of course not. And the deal they announced speaks to "years ahead."
Admittedly, these are just bread crumbs I’m trying to follow. But Apple is a company that is secretive beyond belief, yet it’s been very public with comments in the last few weeks. There’s gotta be a reason. I think Steve Jobs is setting up to make history again.
(Lyrics to the Beatles' Free as Bird.)
Disclaimer: I own shares of Apple Inc.