Sgt. Pepper Stuck In Nowhere Land

If Apple Corps is Sgt. Pepper, then EMI is the Nowhere Man.

On Monday, rocker Paul McCartney said that negotiations between the Beatles' record company and label EMI, which owns the rights to the group's recordings, have stalled. Each has a say in how and when The Beatles will publish to iTunes.

"The last word I got back was it's stalled at the whole moment, the whole process," McCartney told The Associated Press. "I really hope it will happen, because I think it should."

So do we, Sir Paul. Apple Corps and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) became embroiled in a trademark dispute in 2006 that lasted about a year. We've been waiting for the White Album on iTunes -- or maybe Help!, a personal favorite of mine -- ever since both sides decided to come together and work it out.

Do EMI and Apple Corps know what they're missing? Certainly McCartney sees the value in digital sales, as do other labels. Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG  ) recently reported a 28% year-over-year gain in digital sales. Universal Music, the largest label in the biz, said its digital take was up 33% for the first nine months of the year.

Perhaps EMI is the stumbling block. Apple Corps and Viacom's (NYSE: VIA  ) Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band, last week struck a deal to create a Beatles version of the game, VentureBeat reports.

Activision Blizzard's (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) Guitar Hero, meanwhile, has a partnership with Gibson Guitar and a bundling deal for Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Xbox 360. Digital entertainment has moved from Penny Lane to Millionaire's Row.

Apple Corps and EMI? They're still in Nowhere Land

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy will rock your world, Wall Street.


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