English rock band The Beatles may soon acquire the top position once again after the ending of a legal battle, which may pave the way for a huge web deal regarding downloads of their music.
As legal download sales are now included in the official pop charts, bookies are offering odds of 10/1 that the Fab Four will have all the top ten tracks at some time in 2007, with Hey Jude the 8/1 favourite to become the first Beatles number one of the digital era.
"It is going to be staggering - everybody is going to be downloading the Beatles. They are the one group that the whole world wants," the Daily Mail quoted Music mogul Jonathan Shalit as saying.
The excitement is a result of the settlement of a decade-long row between iPod maker Apple Inc and Apple Corps, the guardian of the Beatles, over the right to ‘Apple’ trademark.
The two sides are said to have agreed to pay their own legal costs to end the trademark lawsuit.
"We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks," said Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive.
"It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future," he added.
Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps, expressed happiness over the reconciliation between the two parties.
"The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us. We wish Apple Inc every success and look forward to many years of peaceful cooperation with them," he said.
The two organisations are now thought to be inclined towards allowing downloads through the computer company's iTunes Music Store.
A music industry insider says that The Beatles may earn up to 200 million pounds over the next five years in royalty payments from a deal, expected to be split four ways between the two surviving members and the estates of Lennon and Harrison.
However, a joint announcement from Apple Inc and Apple Corps did not reveal whether the two parties had discussed the prospects for Beatles downloads in the near future.