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Old Jun 08, 2004, 04:32 PM   #1
One_Sweet_Dream
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Default Beatles Said to Be in Online Song Licensing Talks

Beatles Said to Be in Online Song Licensing Talks
By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Representatives of the Beatles are in discussions with various online music services about licensing their songs for distribution on the Internet, people familiar with the discussions said on Tuesday.


The Beatles have been one of the biggest holdouts in releasing their catalog for sale online, and the lack of such mega-hits as "Let it Be" and "Yesterday" has been cited as a major weakness for fledgling, Web-based music stores.


Negotiators for the Beatles have talked with several companies, with a particular emphasis on Microsoft Corp's (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) MSN, which is expected to open an Internet music store late this summer, people familiar with the talks told Reuters.


"MSN is working very closely with the music industry to build a top-quality music service for consumers, which includes providing a wide selection of music, but has nothing specific to announce at this time," said a Microsoft spokesman.


The discussions by the legendary group were first reported by CNET on Tuesday.


Sources familiar with the matter said the current round of talks is being steered by the Beatles' representatives rather than their record label, EMI Group Plc (news - web sites). (EMI.L).


Representatives of the band's two surviving members, Paul McCartney (news) and Ringo Starr (news), could not be immediately reached for comment.


EMI owns the Beatles' master recordings and would be involved in any final agreement, the sources said. The label has been trying to urge the Beatles for years to grant permission to distribute their songs online.


"We think it would be great if the Beatles decided to make their music available on legitimate music services," said EMI spokeswoman Jeanne Meyer.


One person familiar with the discussions said he was optimistic that some deal could be reached by September.


"This would be a big deal because they have been one of the preeminent major holdouts in terms of licensing their digital rights," said veteran entertainment lawyer Jay Cooper. "In the past year, various major artists are starting to put their toe in the water."


Various services from RealNetworks' (Nasdaq:RNWK - news) Rhapsody to Apple Computer Inc.'s (Nasdaq:AAPL - news) iTunes to Roxio Inc.'s (Nasdaq:ROXI - news) Napster (news - web sites) would all jump at the chance to distribute The Beatles, who broke up over 30 years ago, analysts said.


"We've always been confident that artists would see digital music as a must-have platform. We're at the infancy stage of what will certainly be a booming business," said Evan Harrison, vice president and general manager of Time Warner Inc.'s (NYSE:TWX - news) AOL Music.


APPLE v. APPLE


Apple Computer, which launched its popular iTunes music store over a year ago, has been embroiled in a legal dispute with the management for the Beatles since September.


The Beatles, who formed similarly named London-based Apple Corps. in 1968 to manage its business interests and act as its music label, have accused the computer maker of violating a 1991 agreement specifying it could use the Apple trademark for computer products only.


The Beatles management have said Apple Computer broke the agreement when it used the logo and trademark to promote its iTunes online music store, the most popular Internet download service in the world.





A London High Court judge in April struck down Apple's request to have the case heard by California courts. The computer maker argued the United States was the proper place for the hearing as this was where the original agreement between the two companies was struck.
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Old Jun 14, 2004, 01:43 PM   #2
HMVNipper
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Default Re: Beatles Said to Be in Online Song Licensing Talks

Here is a related article from the Telegraph from last week:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/mai...equestid=19136

The Beatles take long and winding road to internet
By Hugh Davies (Filed: 10/06/2004)


The Beatles may have sung about revolution on their White Album in 1968 but, until yesterday, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr showed no interest in selling their music on the internet.

Now, the pair, along with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, are in talks with technology companies in a milestone deal for digital music.

Industry sources said that "a considerable sum" was being asked by the musicians who insist on maximum control of recordings such as Let It Be and Yesterday.

The expectation is that they will seal an exclusive deal with a leading operator such as Microsoft's MSN, which plans an internet music store soon.

The software giant has previewed the service at a trade exhibition in Austin, Texas. Buyers can browse through a huge list of songs and albums to purchase and download on to their computers.

One idea is for a Beatles-branded store, where the group's music, videos and other multi-media products could be bought.

Apple, which paid $26m (14m) to the Beatles' company Apple Corps to settle a trademark dispute, is a leader in legal internet music with its iTunes product, which sell an average of 2.5m songs a week.

By 2008, experts predict downloads to pass the 28m mark.

Along with Madonna and members of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles have long resisted the internet, although the band has its own website, with links to those of Starr, Sir Paul and the late George Harrison.

EMI, which owns The Beatles' master recordings, has urged them to grant permission for online access.

A spokeswoman, Jeanne Meyer, said: "We think it would be great to make their music available on legitimate music services."

Evan Harrison, vice-president of Time Warner's AOL Music, said:' 'We've always been confident that artists would see digital music as a must-have platform. We're at the infancy stage of what will certainly be a booming business."
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Old Jun 29, 2004, 08:16 PM   #3
mccartneymaniac
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Default Re: Beatles Said to Be in Online Song Licensing Talks

that would be nice if it happens and maybe attract more fans.it would be great to have the music out there more.
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