Apple Finally Snares Beatles

Apple Gets Rights to Sell Digital Beatles Music

Ethan Smith
The Wall Street Journal

Steve Jobs is nearing the end of his long and winding pursuit of the Beatles catalog.

Apple Inc. is preparing to disclose that its iTunes Store will soon start carrying music by the Beatles, according to people familiar with the situation, a move that would fill a glaring gap in the collection of the world’s largest music retailer.

The deal resulted from talks that were taking place as recently as last week among executives of Apple, representatives of the Beatles and their record label, EMI Group Ltd., according to these people. These people cautioned that Apple could change plans at the last minute.

Spokesmen for Apple and EMI declined to comment.

Apple on Monday posted a notice on the home page of its iTunes Store that it would make “an exciting announcement” Tuesday morning.

Terms of the deal that brought the Beatles music to iTunes couldn’t be learned, and it was unclear whether other online music services would gain access to the catalog too. However, Apple maintains a roughly 90% market share in the online music business…

…Even as recorded-music sales have plummeted, the Beatles have remained one of the most reliable franchises in the business. In 2009, 39 years after breaking up, they sold the third-highest number of albums of any act in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, with 3.3 million copies sold…

Read the complete article, with video, at the Wall Street Journal.

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