Beatles Catalog Set To Go Digital 
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Friday, 14 April 2006

After years of refusing to enter the music-download market and sell Beatles tunes online, Apple Corps has decided to bring the Fab Four's recordings into the digital age. The disclosure came during the record label's trademark-infringement lawsuit against Apple Computer that ended last week in London.

According to written witness testimony from Neil Aspinall, a former road manager for the Beatles and managing director of Apple Corps, the company is in the process of remastering the Beatles' entire music catalog to make it available for download.

An Apple Corps spokesperson confirmed the statements, saying, "There are plans to do it." However, she said that there is no firm date set for the rollout because Apple Corps is working on a lot of projects, including a new Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. She stated that the company has not yet signed any deals with specific online-music services.

In 2005, online music sales tripled over 2004, growing to $1.1 billion, while traditional music sales declined. Fans of the Beatles, having no iTunes-like option, have had to acquire their music the old-fashioned way.

Those wanting to put the Beatles's songs on their iPods or other digital-music players have had to purchase CDs and upload the contents to their computers, then transfer the songs to their music devices.
The popularity of Beatles and the lack of legal downloads to purchase has led to the Fab Four’s music to be amongst the most pirated content on file-sharing networks.

Industry experts have speculated that the refusal by Apple Corps owners Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison to authorize online downloads has resulted in millions of illegal downloads from which they have been unable to profit.


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