Entertainment behind the scenes
Britain's Sky News caused a bit of a stir on the blogosphere on Tuesday after it cited John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, as saying the Beatles back catalog was finally going for sale on iTunes: seemingly confirming a longstanding rumor that had gained momentum ahead of a widely watched Sept 9 Apple music-entertainment event.
But the report by the 24-hour news service, spotted by 9to5Mac and TechCrunch, among others, was stricken off the Sky News Web site hours later and discredited by a numner of other media outlets including Cnet. In response to Reuters' queries, EMI, which owns the master recordings, sent us this from Ernesto Schmitt, EMI's global catalog president:
"Conversations between Apple and EMI are ongoing and we look forward to the day when we can make the music available digitally. But it's not tomorrow," Schmitt said in comments first made to the Financial Times. Apple declined to comment.
Mind you, the arrival of the Fab Four on the world's most popular online music sales portal will be no less than a seminal event. Hence the unrelenting speculation from Apple's legions of rabid fans who stand rapt at the consumer electronics giant's every move, and the intense interest from the band's own not-unimpressive cohort of faithful followers.
Bob Dylan may have starred in a television commercial for iTunes, but don’t look for him to become an iPod pitchman anytime soon.
In a Rolling Stone magazine cover story, the 67-year-old troubadour rails against modern technology like cell phones, iPods and video games. The man who wrote “The Times They Are A-Changin’” almost 46 years ago evidently thinks the times have changed a little too much.
“It’s peculiar and unnerving in a way to see so many young people walking around with cell phones and iPods in their ears and so wrapped up in media and video games,” Dylan told interviewer Douglas Brinkley, a professor of U.S. history at Rice University in Houston.
“It robs them of their self-identity. It’s a shame to see them so tuned out to real life. Of course they are free to do that, as if that’s got anything to do with freedom. The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that before they start spending their life with all those gadgets.”
Dylan teamed up with Apple’s iTunes music store in 2006 to promote his new album “Modern Times.” A commercial showed him singing and playing guitar while an iPod-sporting woman danced to the music. He released his latest album “Together Through Life” this week.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Dylan also expressed some backhanded nostalgia for the early recordings of his old friend and duet partner Johnny Cash, in the process describing the country legend’s acclaimed 1990s comeback albums as ”notorious low-grade stuff.”
Cash died in 2003, riding high on a decadelong comeback masterminded by producer Rick Rubin. Over that time, they recorded a series of Grammy-winning albums that showcased Cash’s acoustic side. But Dylan said he started missing Cash ”10 years before he actually kicked the bucket.”