Sky News, the 24-hour British news operation, apparently posted a story that cited Yoko One as saying the Beatles' catalog was coming to iTunes.
The story disappeared not long after, but not before someone took a screen shot of the headline and a tease, which said: "The whole of the Beatles back catalog will be made available to buy on iTunes, Yoko Ono has told Sky News." Sky News officials would not comment and has yet to issue a correction.
This is the kind of juicy what-if situation that Apple fans live for and the speculation that the Fab Four's music could finally arrive at iTunes hit overdrive Tuesday evening. But the problem is it's simply not true. The Beatles' catalog is not coming to iTunes, at least if one is to believe EMI officials and other music industry insiders with knowledge of the Beatles-iTunes negotiations.
EMI owns the Beatles' sound recordings, while Sony/ATV owns the publishing rights. Ernesto Schmitt, EMI's global catalog president, told The Financial Times that that the catalog would not be part of Apple's press event on Wednesday.
I checked with my music industry sources, some of whom have direct knowledge of the talks between EMI and Apple Corp., the company that represents the Beatles, and they also said the negotiations have not yielded an agreement. All Things Digital reported the same earlier.
How about this? If Sky News did nail this kind of whopper scoop, the organization would most certainly be ballyhooing its sweet piece of journalism, not hiding it. But as of 5 p.m. PDT Tuesday, that's exactly what what was happening. The story was nowhere to be found on the site.
What's far more likely at this point is that something went wrong at Sky News.
Anyone who has followed iTunes news has seen these rumors come and go. In the past, regardless of how delicious they've sounded, they've all been debunked.