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Monday, January 15, 2007, 09:00 pm PT (12:00 am ET)

Beatles catalog to reach Apple's iTunes by Valentine's Day?

Compelling evidence has surfaced that 1 Infinite Loop and Abbey Road are almost ready to bury the hatchet, as both Apple firms drop hints that they may at last bring the legendary music catalogue of The Beatles to iTunes.

Potentially ending decades of pent-up animosity, Apple Inc. and record label Apple Corps may be on the verge of announcing a crucial deal that would give the Cupertino-based iPod maker the first shot at online distribution of Beatles songs, according to discoveries made by Electronista.

Citing a source speaking with Beatles news outlet Abbey Road Best, the technology news website claims that the once bitter opponents have mended fences and are preparing an exclusive campaign that would further cement iTunes' position at the apex of the online music industry.

Under the terms of the purported deal, Apple Corps would make at least some of the British rock group's music collection available through iTunes on Valentine's Day, providing a convenient means of promoting the band's recent Cirque du Soleil project, Love. The deal would not only grant Apple Inc. one of the most coveted distribution agreements in modern music history, but would also afford the company a valuable weapon against its challengers, according to the report.

Additionally, it was reported that iTunes would become the exclusive home of the Beatles' online music library for a three-month period, delaying the CD release of newly remastered Beatles albums in the process.

The news, while to be taken with a grain of salt, gains momentum from Steve Jobs' recent Macworld keynote address. The Apple Inc. chief executive recently piqued the interest of many avid Mac and iPod followers by making seemingly continuous use of The Beatles material in the music sections of both his Apple TV and iPhone demos, leading some to believe that he was deliberately stoking the fires of existing rumors linking The Beatles and iTunes.

Conspicuously, Jobs scrolled past a "My Beatlemania!" playlist and at least one Beatles album when browsing songs on the Apple TV set-top box. He also played two songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band — complete with high-detail album art — while showing the iPhone's music playback functions. Lastly, keen-eyed viewers pointed out the disproportionately large number of Beatles albums in the iPhone's music library.

While the notion of the two Apples settling their grievances has seemed implausible in the wake of Apple Corps' embarassing legal defeat at the hands of its Californian rival, reports since the completion of the lawsuit point to a sudden willingness on the part of the Apple Corps to sign an agreement.

In November, Fortune magazine made the initially audacious claim that the two vocal opponents would put aside their differences to bring The Beatles to both iTunes Store and iPod ads in one fell swoop.

For those who haven't yet seen the Macworld keynote rebroadcast, photos of The Beatles' influence on the presentation are available below.

Macworld Beatles


Macworld Beatles


Macworld Beatles