Billboard is reporting that the Beatles are close to clearing their catalog for digital sale through iTunes. There's been plenty of recent chatter to suggest this was in the works (e.g. iPod-Apple and Beatles-Apple kiboshing their trademark dispute), but this time it comes straight from the cute horse's mouth -- Sir Paul, himself.
We wonder whether the Beatles catalog will fall into the EMI/iTunes agreement to sell un-crippled, DRM-free tracks. I'd like to think it will, but history tells us that, despite their early embrace of studio technowizardry, the keepers of the fab four flame have always erred -- and boy how they've erred -- on the side of luddism and technoparanoia.
Maybe the strangest thing about this is that anyone cares. I mean, the Beatles broke up before I was born, and I'm OLD. But whenever I teach my music course at USC Annenberg, and ask my kids what they've got on their iPods, more than 90% always raise their hands when I mention the band. Go figure.
UPDATE: Now it's (almost) official. EMI has confirmed that McCartney's entire post-Beatle solo catalog will be released digitally. Soon come Beatles. Can't wait to download Ram -- my vinyl version's getting a little clicky-poppy.