iTunes may finally get The Beatles

Update ribbon (small)

6:25 pm EDT March 10, 2008 - In a response to an inquiry by Billboard magazine, a spokesperson for Apple Inc. issued what Woodward or Bernstein might famously call a "non-denial denial" of press reports that Paul McCartney has finally made an arrangement for Beatles digital content on iTunes.

"This is not news nor is it a scoop," reads the entire comment from the spokesperson from Apple Inc., which is the former Apple Computer and not to be confused with Apple Corps, the Beatles' co-owned record label.

By stark contrast, when iTunes landed a contract with Led Zeppelin last October, Apple Inc. was literally beside itself with fanfare.

United Press International posted a report on Saturday stating that a $400 million agreement had been reached between ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and Apple's iTunes over the distribution of The Beatles' back catalog.

Profits made from the deal and subsequent sales will be split between McCartney, Ringo Starr, the estates of George Harrison and John Lennon, Sony, EMI, and pop star Michael Jackson, each of whom owns some form of rights to the songs, be it in publishing, recording, or reproduction.

The Cupertino company and The Beatles' media conglomerate of the same name settled their trademark dispute over "Apple" over a year ago, but both parties denied rumors that settlement terms included releasing songs from The Beatles on iTunes.

Rumors intensified, however, when Paul McCartney's newest solo recording was released to the digital music store, followed soon after by the late John Lennon's body of solo work.

Saturday's announcement still has not received validation from either side, and a statement from iTunes dismisses news reports as "rumor and speculation," so fans must continue to wait for an official announcement.

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