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In a statement, the two surviving Beatles _ Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr _ as well as Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, and Harrison’s widow, Olivia, all gave the deal their blessing.

“I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes,” Starr said.

The deal gives Apple a sweet public relations boost at the start of the holiday shopping season, but sales of Beatles music probably won’t make much of a financial impact on the company.

Brian Marshall, an analyst for Gleacher & Co., said he believes Beatles fans with iPods and other digital music players have already converted their CDs into digital tracks.

Even if people do rush to their computers for a “Yellow Submarine” fix, iTunes is not a big moneymaker for Apple compared with its other businesses. In the most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue was $20.3 billion, and iTunes sales made up just 5 percent, Marshall said.

For the music industry, the arrival of the Beatles for download might mean even less.

“The digital music market _ and the young music fans record labels desperately need to get engaged _ need new music products, not yesteryear’s hits repackaged,” said Mark Mulligan, a Forrester analyst.

Moreover, about 90 percent of music online is downloaded illegally, music lawyers say.

Steve Gordon, a former Sony Music business executive and author of “The Future of the Music Business,” said the Beatles-iTunes deal could generate as little as $5 million in the first year. “Sure, there’ll be a preliminary burst of sales,” he said. “If it’s enough to bring the music industry back is another issue.”

Younger fans may not buy Beatles albums, but that doesn’t mean they’re not listening.

Glenn Gass, a professor of music at Indiana University, has seen enrollment grow in the Beatles course he has taught since 1982. He is now teaching children of baby boomers raised on the Beatles.

“The Beatles are very approachable, accessible to kids,” Gass said. “The melodies are so catchy. The songs have such personalities that an 8-year-old could love them.”

Garth Brooks, Kid Rock and AC/DC are among the remaining major artists who refuse to sell their work through Apple. Some want more control over prices or the ability to force shoppers to download entire albums instead of individual songs.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, couldn’t resist celebrating the Beatles‘ arrival with an obvious quip Tuesday. “It has been a long and winding road to get here,” he said in a statement. “Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we’ve had since we launched iTunes 10 years ago.”

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