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Beatles Bonanza For iTunes

The long overdue migration of Beatles music into the digital download realm finally happened on November 16 (story).  The Apple iTunes store sold more than 5 million individual tracks and 2 million albums in the first 8 weeks of the arrangement.  As impressive as those numbers are, the totals would be dwarfed by the number of songs and albums the band and Apple could have blown out if they had reached an agreement before millions of frustrated fans ripped their own digital copies of hundreds of millions of Beatles songs from CDs to load on their iPods.  Granted, a lotta of fans that resorted to the DIY method would have chosen the pirate option over re-purchasing music they already owned on disc.  But it's not too much of a stretch to project that the band could be closing in on or even beyond the 500 million mark in sales had they gotten off the mark sooner.  So, was it worth holding out for so long?  The deal the group reportedly struck with Apple provides a direct payment to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison.  Details of the payment amounts and how their recent windfall and future earnings compare with what the band could have realized over a much longer period of sales under a traditional iTunes sales licensing structure is only a guess outside the inner circle of people familiar with the particulars.  It is tough to imagine that the the dollars from the deal the band eventually got from Apple will make-up for the dollars lost for more years than either surviving member or currently living heirs of theirs and the other Beatles have left.

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