The Beatles back-catalogue is set to be released for download thanks to a deal between Sir Paul McCartney and iTunes, according to reports.

A deal believed to be worth around £200 million would be split between Macca, Ringo Starr and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison.

EMI, Sony and Michael Jackson would also all be entitled to a cut as they own part of the publishing rights, but McCartney would still be in for a substantial windfall.

Some of the less sensitive newspapers point out the money could be used to fund his divorce settlement with Heather Mills-McCartney. She is expected to get between £20 million and £30 million but, with future earnings taken into account, that could increase further.

Macca was in upbeat mood nonetheless, saying of the iTunes deal: "It's all happening soon. The whole thing is primed, ready to go."

Bets are now being taken about which Beatles track will top the download charts as a result, with Yesterday and Hey Jude among the favourites.

Let's hope We Can Work It Out doesn't feature too prominently, or journalists may go into sarcasm overload.

08/03/2008 18:46:34