I love and hate this element of my job: I think I have a handle on my day, I’ve got my schedule all planned out, and then there’s a piece of news that makes everything go all catty-wampus. I had a moment like that a few minutes ago, when I came across this article on TechCrunch:http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/09/08/did-yoko-ono-and-sky-news-just-ruin-apples-beatles-surprise/ Apparently, Yoko Ono was talking to Sky News, and blabbed that the entire Beatles catalogue would be going up on iTunes tomorrow…same day as “Beatles: Rock Band” and the remastered CDs. The article itself was pulled down, according to TechCrunch, and I can’t find anyone who happened to have cached or captured it. So it’s hard to know how to treat this news. …If it’s “news” at all. If Sky developed the information in a hinky fashion (if they persuaded someone to violate an NDA) or used copyrighted materials, their lawyers and their editors might have decided to exercise the better part of valor, particularly if Apple got involved. But if the bones of the story are true — Yoko spoke to Sky News — then they have the story COLD, and any news site (any that doesn’t use LiveJournal as a host, I mean) would be savvy enough to know that they’re untouchable. Why would they pull down a huge, traffic-boosting scoop? Did Yoko really say it, belatedly realize her error, and then play the “it’s your reporter’s word against mine what I may or may not have said” card? So I’m suspicious of the original story. If the story’s true, then I’m suspicious of Sky News as a news source in general. I’ve said all along that I don’t see any upside to the profit participants putting the Beatles catalogue on iTunes day-and-date with the remastered CDs. The tracks are going to become huge sellers whenever they’re added to iTunes; 09/09/09 is no better than 01/01/10. But on that date, consumers will have an opportunity to purchase “improved” articulations of the Beatles catalogue for the first time in twenty years. Whether you bought your first Beatles album in 1968, ’78, ’88, or ’98, there’s a certain thrill to that. It’s like buying it for the first time all over again. I know; I bought the soundtrack to “Love,” the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show, mostly for that reason. Some people will buy the $250 sets. Some will buy just one or two $15 CDs. Anyone likely to purchase a digital download is likely to buy a CD and rip it, if that’s their only option. Therefore (so my logic goes): there’s no upside to putting these tracks on iTunes on the 9th. All you’re doing is giving consumers the option of buying only the “White Album” tracks they like, instead of making them spring for the whole uneven pile. To be fair, if the Beatles catalogue WERE going up on iTunes on Wednesday, this is exactly how it’d happen. Apple would insist on full control of the announcement and demand that it happens during one of their own events. You wouldn’t hear boo about it until there’s a top-level Apple executive on a keynote stage with dozens of cameras on him. It’d also be a smart PR move for Apple. I’m convinced that their announcements on Wednesday will be fairly routine and announcing the acquisition of the Beatles catalogue would allow them to harness all of the Beatlemania that’s taking place tomorrow and get some attention for (theoretically) the latest rounds of iPods and a new version of iTunes. I could be wrong, natcherly. But there are two things I’m not expecting Apple to talk about during their big event on Wednesday: a tablet (you were going to ask about that, weren’t you? I could tell), and Beatles tracks on iTunes.