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"This is a tremendous step forward in EMI’s very aggressive push to expand and improve legitimate digital music services. We’re pleased that music fans will be able to listen to and buy the Rolling Stones’ EMI catalog through Rhapsody, and also delighted in Best Buy’s participation nationwide, as it reinforces the growing popularity of digital as a format consumers want to buy. And nothing says ‘cutting-edge technological advances’ like the miraculous medical breakthroughs used to keep Keith Richards alive.”
——David Munns
ROLLING STONES CATALOG FINALLY AVAILABLE ONLINE
Best Buy/Rhapsody Deal Begins With Stones Deal
The virtual floodgates have just started to open. In a precedent-setting move that could have implications for other big-time holdouts, the Rolling Stones have opened up their entire catalog to the Internet. Real Music’s Rhapsody service has an exclusive deal for the Stones’ music through the end of August, after which the band’s post-’71 material will be given shelter on such services as Musicnet and Apple's iTunes.

Available for the first time for downloading (if you’re not counting Morpheus, Kazaa, Limewire, etc.) are all 18 post-’71 LPs (starting with Sticky Fingers), courtesy of EMI/Virgin. While the pre-1971 material (up through the live classic Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out), controlled by ABKCO/Universal, can’t as yet be downloaded, it has been made available for streaming on online jukeboxes.

In addition, the Rhapsody service will now be available at 560 Best Buy stores via interactive kiosks and on Best Buy’s website. Best Buy is also offering a 10% discount on Stones albums, in-store only, during the week of Aug. 24-31. 

Said EMI Music North America Chairman/CEO David Munns: “This is a tremendous step forward in EMI’s very aggressive push to expand and improve legitimate digital music services. We’re pleased that music fans will be able to listen to and buy the Rolling Stones’ EMI catalog through Rhapsody, and also delighted in Best Buy’s participation nationwide, as it reinforces the growing popularity of digital as a format consumers want to buy. And nothing says ‘cutting-edge technological advances’ like the miraculous medical breakthroughs used to keep Keith Richards alive.”

Chimed in RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser: “We’re thrilled that Rhapsody is the first stop for these timeless rock recordings. Now, Rolling Stones fans can finally get what they want—and today they can get it only through Rhapsody. We’re also excited about [Monday’s] announcement of RealNetworks’ relationship with Best Buy, which will place Rhapsody with the country’s #1 consumer-electronics retailer well in time for the holiday shopping season. We’re still working on how to gift-wrap a download.”

Commented Best Buy Senior Vice President of Entertainment Gary Arnold: “Being able to offer Rhapsody and digital access to the Rolling Stones catalog in all of our U.S. stores and on our website is an incredible way for us to demonstrate to our customers all the great possibilities that digital music holds. It is difficult to sort seeds and stems on a digital file, but our customers will figure out a way to do it.”

Added Keith Richards: “Snnnnnnort… I think I need my blood changed again.”

Will this auspicious move influence any of the acts and their managers who have thus far held back their catalogs from the legit online services out of fear that their albums will be cannibalized by being made available on a track-by-track basis? We’re talking bands like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, for starters. Only time will tell, and time is on their side.

 

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