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Beatles catalogue to go online 'soon'

But will iTunes be involved?

Songs from The Beatles will be made available through music services "soon", according to an EMI chief. The Beatles are the last major-league group to resist digital music.

EMI Music vice-chairman David Munns confirmed the plans during a keynote discussion at last week's Web 2.0 Conference.

However, given the legal acrimony between the act's Apple imprint and Apple Computer, which ended in a high-profile tussle over music trademarks in the UK's High Court, there's no guarantee that the band's music will be made available through iTunes.

The importance of any digital release of tracks from the band can't be dismissed: Time magazine has five albums from the band in its recent list of the all-time 100 best albums: 'Abbey Road', 'The White Album', 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'Revolver' and 'Rubber Soul' remain critical favourites.

Munns didn't eleborate on timing, but the band's new album, 'Love', a George Martin collection of remixes, goes on sale in December.

Following the court case between Apple Computer and the Beatles' record label earlier this year, Apple vice-president Eddy Cue stressed his company would do anything it could to bring music from the band to the iTunes Store.

The digital release of the tracks could end up being subject to a bidding war between all the players at the digtal music party, industry insiders claim.

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