Although they stopped recording together decades ago, the Beatles are being credited with reviving music sales that have been on the skids for a decade.
Apple’s iTunes deal with the survivors of the iconic British band overall digital music sales 16.8 percent higher even though CD sales fell nearly 9 percent.
Catalog sales rose 5.4 percent in 2011, “thanks in part to a long-awaited 2010 deal allowing digital distribution of The Beatles’ albums for the first time,” according to a Nielsen Soundscan survey.
Apple appears to have struck a deal where the band members are paid directly, rather than Sony, which owns the group’s song catalog.
The strength of digital music sales not only confirms the leading role played by Apple’s iTunes, but also should help the Cupertino, Calif. firm gain more licensing deals from music publishers. Earlier this week, Google introduced a scaled-back cloud-based music service after what one executive at the Internet giant described as a music industry “more interested in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms.”
Apple is still talking of offering some cloud-based music service. The company has acquired the iCloud.com domain and is putting the finishing touches on its massive NC data center that could permit some type of digital locker for music.