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Stones Roll into Computer Downloads

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The Rolling Stones songbook is finally — and legitimately — coming to a computer near you. For a two-week exclusive period, the Rhapsody online subscription service and Best Buy will offer the entire post-1971 Stones catalog, reports Billboard.

The songs come thanks to a new deal with Virgin/EMI — though the pre-1971 Stones material would involve an agreement with ABKCO, says the trade paper.

When the period of exclusivity expires on Aug. 31, the EMI material will become available for download through all legitimate services, including Apple’s iTunes Music Store and MusicNet.

The Rhapsody-Best Buy marriage for the Stones promotion will allow customers to sign up for a 14-day free Rhapsody trial in Best Buy stores and through the retail chain’s Web site. Best Buy will also reportedly offer a 10 percent discount on the Rolling Stones’ EMI CD catalog.

The Stones, who along with the Beatles are some of the last superstar holdouts to offer their music online, “realized the time was right and that this was a good opportunity that also tied in with physical retail,” Ted Cohen, EMI senior VP of digital development and distribution, tells Billboard.

“The tie-in with Best Buy will give people confidence to buy music online, because they’re getting music from people they are already used to buying from,” he added.