Apple Corps, EMI settle royalties dispute


LONDON -- Apple Corps, the Beatles' publishing company, has settled its £30 million ($59.2 million) royalties dispute with EMI, the music major said Thursday, removing another hurdle to finally making the group's catalog available for legal download.

EMI declined to disclose details of the settlement, which it said was struck in March.

"I can confirm that we have reached a mutually acceptable settlement and that we are not going to say anything more than that," an EMI spokeswoman said.

Apple Corps launched its latest legal action in December 2005 at the High Court in London and New York's Supreme Court against EMI Records and Capitol Records, respectively (HR 12/16/05).

The writ alleged unpaid royalties on Beatles albums based on an audit of sales between 1994 and 1999, a period which included the release of three "Anthology" compilations.

The settlement between Apple Corps and EMI, the band's label, follows a deal struck in February between Apple Corps and Apple Computer over the use of the Apple name. That deal removed a major obstacle for Beatles tracks to appear on iTunes.

EMI chief executive Eric Nicoli is on record as saying the music giant was working overtime to find a way to make the Beatles catalog available.

Apple Corps was created by the Beatles in 1968, and the band's recordings are released under license by EMI.

This week, the Beatles' London-based company announced the exit of CEO Neil Aspinall, who had worked with the band for more than 45 years. He is being replaced by Sony BMG executive Jeff Jones.