“Search any fee-based digital music service for the best-loved musical artists of the 20th century and most of the expected names show up. Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Sinatra are all accounted for, with their complete catalogs available per song, at 99 cents apiece,” Jefferson Graham reports for USA Today. “There are holdouts, but none bigger than the best-selling recording group of all time: the Beatles. That could change before year’s end if there’s a settlement in a long-standing trademark lawsuit between the Beatles’ Apple Corps and Apple Computer.”
Graham reports, “Recent reports in the British press hint that lawyers for both sides are working toward a resolution that might result in not only a multimillion-dollar settlement but in making the Beatles catalog available online, initially at Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Both Apple Computer and Apple Corps declined to comment. In settling and securing rights to the Beatles catalog for iTunes, Apple Computer would gain a big advantage, he says. The Beatles, arguably the most-loved band of the rock era, have sold 166.5 million albums in the United States alone.”
“Since it opened iTunes, Apple has dominated digital music. With sales of 125 million digital downloads, it has an estimated 70% market share… Any deal among Apple Computer, Apple Corps and EMI Music – which owns the Beatles’ master recordings – would likely begin exclusively, then be made available on all the digital music services,” Graham reports. “To have the Beatles songs – and solo material from Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr – available at a click of a mouse would ‘be the final barrier to legitimizing digital music,’ says Bernoff. ‘Digital music isn’t complete without the Beatles. That’s the only group you could say that about.'”
Full article here.
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Forbes: Apple vs. Apple; iTunes Music Store just might end up with exclusive Beatles deal – September 12, 2003