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The Beatles are on iTunes but won't be here, there and everywhere until 2011

After years of anticipation, the Beatles have landed on iTunes -- but when will the Fab Four be available on the rest of the Web? And does anybody care?

After years of anticipation, the Beatles have landed on iTunes -- but when will the Fab Four be available on the rest of the Web? And is anybody buying the back catalogue?

Apple will be the only game in town for downloading the Fab Four until some time in 2011, thanks to an exclusive deal with record label EMI. After that, other online retailers such as Amazon MP3, Sky Songs and Napster will presumably race to get a slice of Beatle pie.

It'll be interesting to see if EMI will do a deal with streaming services such as Spotify -- signing the biggest band ever could be an important step for Spotify in its long-awaited bid to conquer the US, just as the Beatles did in 1964. Update: Spotify has told us that "It's great to see The Fab Four move into the digital sphere. It's a big step towards having their music made available on a wider variety of digital platforms, including Spotify, in the future".

Yesterday's news was greeted with indifference in many quarters, and inspired hilarity in others. We pointed out you can buy the CDs at online retailers for less money and better quality, and the rush to buy Beatles songs we expected doesn't seem to have materialised.

We're genuinely surprised that the hit parade remains untroubled by Beatles songs, with nary a single mop-topped tune in the iTunes top 10 charts across the world. Shakira's World Cup anthem Waka Waka is currently selling better than the Beatles, some four months after the final whistle blew on the tournament. The Rolling Stones have more songs in the iTunes rock charts around the world.

The Blue collection of the band's later hits sneaks into the album top 10 -- a chart that features Take That in both the first and second slots and Rihanna at numbers 3 and 4, thanks to Apple's odd policy of counting iTunes LP multimedia versions of the same album as separate entities.

Still, it's early days, and the weekly charts may change things. An outing on a Christmas telly advert or programme for any one song could see a spike in sales -- on that note, the shuffling Baby You're A Rich Man appears over the end credits of Facebook movie The Social Network. Or if one of them dies.

Fingers crossed, Beatles downloads will sort out the ridiculous situation that the plagiarist moppets from high school musical toshfest Glee have had more singles in the US charts than the Liverpudlian legends, by vomiting out 75 despicably cynical saccharine photocopies of pop classics in the last two years.