End to royalties row boosts Beatles download hopesSpeculation mounts over internet back catalogue

13 April 2007

The Beatles have settled a £30 million royalties row with music giant EMI in a move which could pave the way for legal downloads of the band's hits.

Speculation has been mounting about plans to release the band's entire back catalogue over the internet, possibly catapulting many of their tracks back to the top of the charts.

The settlement of the long-running royalty dispute with record company EMI is seen as clearing the last hurdle for such a move.

Releasing Beatles singles and albums on music websites such as iTunes could net the surviving members of the legendary band millions.

Royalties row

Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and relatives of John Lennon and George Harrison alleged that EMI underpaid them by tens of millions of pounds in royalties on sales of Beatles' records between 1994 and 1999.

An EMI spokeswoman confirmed the royalties row had been resolved, saying: 'Last month we settled on mutually acceptable terms.'

She refused to comment on reports that a new agreement on legal downloads would follow.

But earlier this month, EMI Chief Executive Eric Nicoli told a press conference the company was 'working on it, we hope it's soon.'

The band also settled a long-running dispute with iTunes parent company Apple Computer in February over the use of the apple name.

The news comes as it was announced that Neil Aspinall, the chief executive of Apple Corps, was quitting his post after more than 40 years looking after the band's interests.

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