ITunes snags music catalogue of holdout alt-rockers Radiohead
Apple's dominant iTunes music store has scored a long-awaited victory, snagging the back catalogue of a longtime holdout to the online music retailer: British rockers Radiohead.
The band's former record company EMI has permitted iTunes to sell music from its six Radiohead albums, both as full albums or on a track-by-track basis.
In the past, EMI had argued that the influential rock quintet chose to withhold its music from the popular online retailer because they preferred to present whole albums to their fans as opposed to single tracks.
A similar argument has also been made by other high-profile holdouts like U.S. country star Garth Brooks and Aussie rockers AC/DC, who instead signed an exclusive deal with a U.S. cellphone operator to sell full-album downloads.
A remaining hole in the iTunes offering is the Beatles catalogue, though the solo repertoire of all four members is represented. The technology giant is expected to snag this coveted catalogue as well, however, after it settled a longtime trademark dispute with Beatles record label Apple Corps in February 2007.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney himself predicted last fall that Beatles music would likely be available for digital download sometimes this year.
Apple announced in April that iTunes has surpassed Wal-Mart as the largest music retailer in the U.S.
Experiments in distribution
Radiohead fulfilled its long-term contract with EMI with its 2003 album Hail to the Thief.
The award-winning band released its back catalogue to U.K.-based music service 7 Digital in October 2007, but only allowed sales of complete albums.
The same month, Radiohead made headlines around the world by releasing its seventh album In Rainbows digitally on a pay-as-you-will basis on its website. It was the band's first album after splitting ways with EMI.
A CD version and a more traditional digital release of the album on on iTunes followed in January.