Beatles to Apple: We are the Walrus, you are not selling our music

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Since its earliest days, the company once known as Apple Computer (now merely Apple, Inc.) has had a rocky relationship with Apple Corps, the holding company for the Beatles' Apple Records label. The battle finally was resolved in 2007, with Apple Inc. actually given rights to the name Apple (which it licenses back to Apple Corps).

This has raised high hopes that someday soon the Beatles' songs would actually appear on the iTunes Store. (There was even talk of Bloomingdales selling an iPod preloaded with Beatles music.) At first glance this would seem kind of anticlimactic -- is there really any music lover out there who doesn't already own the Beatles' stuff? But millions of teenagers start their own music collection every year (and show no sign of falling out of love with dinosaur rock), and the iTunes Store is about nothing so much as the long tail -- people will be buying songs in dribs and drabs for decades, essentially providing free money to Apple and the Beatles.

Sadly, this long hoped for day has not yet arrived. Paul McCartney himself opened a tiny window into the negotiations, saying "We are very for it, we've been pushing it. But there are a couple of sticking points, I understand. So the last word I got back was that it had stalled, the whole process. EMI want something we're not prepared to give them. Hey, sounds like the music business. It's between EMI and the Beatles. What else is new."

If the Beatles and their heirs really are all for it, hopefully you'll be able to buy "Magical Mystery Tour" on the iTunes Store soon enough.

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