Sir Paul McCartney, seen here performing at a recent show, allegedly has given the go-ahead for the release of the Beatles catalog on iTunes  (Source: AFP/Getty Images)
Money still can't buy you love, but it might soon buy you Beatles songs on iTunes

Apple always has a knack for being involved somehow in a wild PR buzz about its latest product or initiatives.  This time, it's not something new like an ultra-thin computer or shrunken and restyled MP3 players, but rather something very old

For years, iTunes rested as a firm cornerstone of Apple's business.  It is a perennial leader in the online music market, being outsold last year only by the monolithic Wal-mart.  With iPods being far-and-away the most popular MP3 player and with the recent success of the iPhone smart phone, Apple is in a very good position in the online music industry.

One key element missing from iTune's crown jewels, though, has always been the Beatles catalog.  The Beatles, arguably the greatest recording artists of all time, have sold over a billion units -- a world record according to EMI and the Guinness Book of World Records

Thus it is understandable why there would be considerable enthusiasm over news reports that the Beatles catalog would soon be coming to iTunes, based on Sir Paul McCartney's go ahead.  The reports claim that McCartney pushed to make the catalog available "within months".  Apple Corps, the owners of the Beatles' legacy, and Apple, purveyor of iTunes, dismissed the claims as "rumour and speculation" and refused to comment.

There is a general consensus by analysts that the Beatles catalog will come online soon, though nobody really knows when it will happen.  EMI, who owns the Beatles' recording rights, has expressed eagerness to bring the catalog online.  It is currently in talks with online music retailers to set a firm release date.

The release is estimated to be worth up to £200m.  Beatles tracks are expected to occupy the top 20 spots on the UK chart when released, a historic first.

Apple Corp and Apple Computer have had a long history of legal battles over the tradename Apple, which has been seen as one reason that the catalog has been unavailable for so long.  Still, with the release of McCartney's catalog on iTunes, much of the hurt feelings were mended and the way was cleared for an eventual release. 

HMV Media's Gennaro Castaldo commented, "This move has been the Holy Grail of the music industry for a long time now and they will want to get the timing exactly right.  It will generate renewed interest and value in Beatles products, which are being re-mastered. Anything to do with the Beatles generates massive excitement and interest and this will be a key iconic moment."

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