Rumours fly over Beatles catalogue

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A rash of media reports suggests that The Beatles catalogue will be made available online for the first time..

Sir Paul McCartney said last year that the back catalogue would go online in 2007 once a single detail was resolved to his satisfaction.

If the rumours are to be believed, McCartney, along with Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison, will receive a US$400 million payout.

The likely contender to carry the tracks will be Apple's iTunes, which is ironic considering the battles the two have had in the past.

The Beatles' Apple Corporation had an agreement with Apple Inc that the two would co-exist so long as the latter did not produce any sounds. Apple Inc then called their first audio computer alert 'Sosumi'.

However, the relationship has been cordial since then, and iTunes currently offers John Lennon and Ringo Starr tracks. There are also rumours of a Yellow Submarine branded iPod coming soon.

EMI would be happy to see a deal go through, as the company is desperately trying to regain profitability. But the families of George Harrison and John Lennon are reportedly less keen.

Some have cast doubt on the latest rumours, however, pointing out that the timing makes little sense.

McCartney is currently in the final stages of what could be the UK's most expensive divorce, and dramatically increasing his wealth at this point could be counterproductive.

Apple Corp and Apple Inc have refused to comment, referring to the rumours as "unsubstantiated speculation".
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