Published Jan 06, 2011The Beatles' music finally came to iTunes back in November, as the band reached an agreement with Apple's digital retailer after years of negotiations. If you were wondering how the digital retailer finally convinced the Beatles to make their music available online, here's your answer: it turns out the group came to a unique royalties agreement with iTunes and EMI that puts a lot more money in the Fab Four's pocket.
As Reuters reports, the Beatles' company, Apple Corps, is being paid royalties directly from iTunes itself, according to the news agency's industry sources. The digital retailer then pays Sony/ATV Music Publishing separately for the mechanical royalties (that is, for ownership of the recordings themselves).
Under a normal agreement, a label licences songs from a publisher (in this case, Sony/ATV). After that, all wholesale revenue from song sales goes directly to the label. The label then gives royalties to the artist, usually about 20 to 25 percent.
While it's unknown exactly how much iTunes is paying the Beatles in royalties, it's likely a much more lucrative deal for band. It's even possible that revenue from the songs is being split evenly between the label and artist -- far more than a measly 20 percent.
The exact details of the deal have yet to emerge, as all parties concerned have so far declined to comment, but it appears this may be yet another groundbreaking moment in the digital distribution of music.