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."