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Apple wants Beatles on iTunes

updated 02:30 pm EDT, Wed May 10, 2006

Apple wants Beatles

Apple Computer is hoping to reach an agreement with Apple Corps that would enable it to sell the Beatles' music via its iTunes Music Store. "We certainly will do everything we can to get them on iTunes," vice president of iTunes Eddie Cue said. "The Beatles aren't available in any digital format today but they are going to be one day. We certainly hope that happens on iTunes." Apple Corps, the Beatles' record label which is owned by former band members and their heirs, recently filed suit against Apple Computer for breaching a $26 million settlement in 1991. Apple Computer won the court battle, however, and is now seeking rights to sell digital versions of the Beatles' tracks on iTunes. Apple Corps is remastering the Beatles music, and in April announced plans to release the tracks in the form of digital downloads. The combination of the Beatles and iTunes could spur more music consumers to purchase digital tracks legally, according to Bloomberg.

An agreement between Apple Computer and Apple Corps makes sense, according to analysts. iTunes is the industry leading source for legal digital downloads, while the Beatles are considered "an icon to classic rock music."

"There's a huge gold mine in the Beatles catalog," NPD music industry analyst Russ Crupnick said. "There are tens of millions of people who have never bought anything from a digital store, and when they do the tendency is overwhelming to buy it from Apple Computer. When you think about a premier artist like the Beatles, it may drag some of those other people to buy."

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research said he couldn't estimate the value of the Beatles portfolio in downloadable form, according to the report.

"It's an impossible number to calculate," said Gartenberg. "Obviously, it has a psychological impact. [The] Beatles are an icon to classic rock music."

by MacNN Staff



  1. designr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How about Frank Zappa!

    Who cares about the Beatles... never a very popular band. Just a one-hit wonder.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    but seriously...

    well I guess there's a h*** of a market of aging boomers out there... but don't they already have Beatles CDs? Surely they are bright enough to rip their CDs to MP3?

    I like the Beatles but c'mon...

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The entire Beatles portfolio is being digitally re-mastered. This is supposed to be quite a big deal. We'll see.

    However, IF Apple gets The Beatles on iTMS, I'll bet that they will not be available as singles but as part of an album. The Beatles have never let any of their stuff be part of a compilation with other artists.

  1. cebritt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Time is money

    Every day that Apple Corps screws around, their portfolio of songs goes down in value. I was born in 1958 and I own one Beatles 45, two albums and no CDs. I might buy some of their songs on iTunes but I'm not going to buy any CDs at $15 per.

    Bottom line, Apple Corps needs Apple more than Apple needs Apple Corps.

  1. bojangles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    kinda what I was thinking

    I don’t deny that the Beatles have some really great stuff, but let’s face it… kids drive the music industry, and I don’t foresee many kids getting into a band that broke up long before their parents were born. Heck, we’re now at the point where some very young children’s GRANDPARENTS weren’t even born, when the Beatles broke up! This can’t be good for business….

    Like climacs indicated, we’ve long since passed the point where Beatles fans already have everything the Beatles will ever release—at the very least, every Beatles track they’re ever going to care enough to buy. I’ve purchased a lot of stuff from iTMS, but never anything that I already owned on CD. What would be the point?

    Bottom line: the Beatles catalog may be great for iTunes, but I’m really not sure who their intended market is.

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well, apart from "young" people buying "old" music - surprise, surprise people are still buying Beatles CDs (and Elvis, Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Who...).

    Additionally, and this was a surprise to me, 50 year old women buy more music than 15 year old girls. This has lead to a revival in the fortunes of the likes of Neil Sedaka, Gene Pitney and Leo Sayer (in the UK at least).

    If you need any proof of this effect, consider this: people still buy Elton John records, despite the fact that he hasn't done anything decent in close to 30 years.

    Or, people all over the world will go to see the Rolling Stones on tour, when they've done hardly anything of note in a similar period.

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