Beatles fans can imagine a world where the iTunes Store can sell Rubber Soul, but today they'll have to settle for a working-class hero.
Apple announced Tuesday that the solo work of John Lennon is now available on The iTunes Store in the DRM-free iTunes Plus format, as part of Apple's agreement with EMI, Lennon's record label. Lennon joins Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as solo artists featured on iTunes, but despite what appeared to be a truce in the bitter battle over the Apple trademarks between the California Mac maker and the famous Apple Records of the Beatles, the two sides have yet to come together.
The trademark dispute was settled in February, which makes me wonder why the two parties haven't managed to work out a distribution deal yet. Maybe the Beatles are waiting for a better deal, or a special U2-like themed iPod, or perhaps they are considering testing the digital waters with other services, such as the new gBox venture supported by Apple's good friend Google and directly backed by not-so-good friend Universal.
Lennon's not a bad consolation prize, but come on, folks, quit playing mind games. "John would have loved the fact that his music will now be available in a format suited to a new generation of listeners," said Yoko Ono, John's wife and Beatle-wrecker (kidding), in the press release announcing the deal.