Beatles Music to Come Together Online

Published April 13, 2006

| Reuters

The Beatles are preparing to sell their songs online after years of refusing to take part in the Internet music boom, according to testimony given by the head of their record company.

Neil Aspinall, a former Beatles road manager and managing director of Apple Corps, was a witness in the company's trademark lawsuit against Apple Computer (APPL).

He said that the company was digitally remastering the entire Beatles catalogue, which would pave the way for selling the songs online.

"I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters," he said in a written statement submitted to the High Court in London earlier this month.

"It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get the publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than just doing it ad hoc."

A spokeswoman for Apple Corps confirmed Aspinall's statement, and said that the company is preparing to make the Beatles catalogue available through online music services.

"There's no firm date on any of this at the moment. There are a lot of projects that Apple are working on at the moment," she said on Thursday.

The Beatles have been high-profile holdouts from the booming online music sector, which saw sales triple to $1.1 billion in 2005.

Apple Corps, owned by Beatles Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison, have accused Apple Computer of violating a 1991 agreement by using the Apple name and logo to sell music downloads through its market-leading iTunes Music Store.

The trial ended on April 6, with a decision from the judge due after Easter.

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