Monday, November 13, 2006

The Sunday Times November 12, 2006

Beatles set to go digital

MORE than four decades after the Beatles had their first No 1 hit, their music catalogue is moving into the digital age, write Paul Durman and Matthew Goodman.

Music fans with MP3 players are to gain access to their repertoire as EMI makes the classic songs available online for the first time.

EMI, which has made a fortune from the Beatles since the band burst onto the music scene with Love Me Do in 1962, is coy about the details. But the music group has dropped the first hint that the catalogue of songs will be made available on the internet.

David Munns, head of EMI’s North American division, told a web-industry conference in San Francisco that the Beatles’ music would be available for download “soon”.

Munns declined to be more specific on timing. Fellow EMI officials refused to comment further or to provide details of how the music would be available.

Any deal would have to be agreed with Apple Corps, the company that looks after the band’s commercial interests. Until now, the Beatles have been one of the last remaining mega music acts whose work has not been sold online.

A new Beatles album, Love, which presents new versions of many of the band’s classic tracks, will be released this month.