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iTunes to meet The Beatles?

Paul McCartney has reportedly given his approval to make The Beatles' song catalog available on Apple's iTunes in the coming months.

Updated 6:40 p.m. to clarify difference between publishing rights and rights to recordings.

Four decades ago, Paul McCartney told us that all you need is love. Reportedly near the conclusion of an expensive divorce proceeding, apparently the former Beatle could also use some cash.

Word is that McCartney has given his approval to make The Beatles' song catalog available on Apple's iTunes in the coming months, according to reports in several British newspapers.

The deal for the Fab Four's songs could be worth $600 million, some papers estimated.

Apple representatives were not immediately available to comment Sunday.

After years of chilly relations between Apple (the Mac maker) and Apple Corps (The Beatles' publishing company) over their very similar company names and then the Mac maker's successful foray into music delivery, there were rumors of a thaw last year that would lead to the band's songs being made available on iTunes. However, as much as music fans hoped The Beatles would let it be, that was not to be the case.

In addition, it's unclear which songs might be offered to iTunes if such a deal were to occur. Publishing rights to many of The Beatles' songs belong to Sony/ATV, which acquired them in a deal with Michael Jackson. (In 1985, Jackson outbid former pal McCartney and Yoko Ono for the catalog.) However, Apple Corps owns the rights to the actual music/recordings to most of The Beatles' songs, which would be the determining factor in this reported deal.

The timing of the move seems odd to some observers who note that McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills--which may cost him about $60 million--is expected to have its final court hearing in the coming weeks.