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High hopes for Beatles digitization

April 16, 2007

Apple Corps

Digital Music News reports that the Beatles have now settled a royalty dispute with EMI, a development that could further pave the way for a digitized catalog on stores like iTunes.

Apple Corps., the Beatles business entity, originally sued EMI for 30 million pounds ($59.4 million) over alleged underpayments and suspect accounting.  The matter was “settled on mutually acceptable terms last month,” according to an official statement issued by the pair this week, though exact terms were not disclosed.  The result represents the latest chapter in a rather jagged history between the two camps, a relationship marred by similar suits over the past three decades.

Looking forward, the EMI settlement could inch the Beatles camp closer to a digital licensing move.  The group remains a glaring ecommerce standout, though most fans have moved ahead by ripping existing collections or downloading classics via peer-to-peer networks.

Regardless, an older generation of die-hards is likely to respond to a clever digital release, especially one that involves remastered content and smart repacking.  On the physical side, the group has experienced strong successes with its Anthology and 1 releases, and that same savvy could be applied to the digital realm.

Still, some fans will undoubtedly yawn at an extremely tardy digitization play, while others will find few reasons to replace their existing MP3s.

in: Digital Music News

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