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Let it be MP3

Marketplace Staff Apr 12, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: That long-awaited moment is one step closer to reality. The Beatles could soon be coming to an MP3 player near you. That’s according to a story in the Daily Telegraph today. I spoke with reporter Christopher Hope who wrote the story.

CHRISTOPHER HOPE: I think that a number of things came together. Of course famously Apple Inc. controlled by Beatles fan Steve Jobs agreed terms about use of the Apple trademark. That was in February. That was seen to pave the way for the idea of Beatles tracks coming to an MP3 player near you. Then the next thing was this outstanding writ going back into the mid-’90s about alleged underpayment of royalties.

THOMAS: Should we read anything into the fact that this is all happening right after Neil Aspinall, the former chief executive of Apple, left the company?

HOPE: No I don’t we should. I mean some reports in Britain have suggested that but I’ve been informed that Neil, who’s a school contemporary of Sir Paul McCartney, he wanted to retire and now seemed a good moment. I mean they’ve hired a very good guy to take over, Jeff Jones, a former executive vice president at Sony BMG. And he’s a guy who’s going to take it forward into the digital age and can make sure these tracks are put out in a fair way, in a good way on the Internet.

THOMAS: How much money could come to The Beatles, to their relatives as a result of a new Internet download deal.

HOPE: The sky’s the limit. There are no numbers behind that yet, but with The Beatles it’s always millions and millions of dollars. All that’s been agreed is a historic royalty dispute. Now everyone’s sitting down now and discussing a new royalties deal and this of course is a whole new ballgame.

THOMAS: Thank you so much Christopher, appreciate it.

HOPE: Thanks, thanks Mark.

THOMAS: Christopher Hope is a reporter for the Daily Telegraph.

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