THE Beatles are refusing to allow their music to be sold over the internet.

Hundreds of thousands of songs can now be legitimately downloaded from official paid-for internet services - since the music industry launched the initiative to combat illegal file-swapping services - but the most famous band in the world are refusing to take part.

Geoff Baker, a spokesperson for Beatles record label APPLE CORPS - owned by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison's estate - says, "We have no plans at the moment to go online.

"As far as I am concerned we are doing very well as it is."

The refusal is a blow to the music industry, who are desperate to promote the use of its legitimate service.

A spokesperson for publishers EMI says, "The Beatles have chosen not to put their music online.

"I do not know their reasoning. It's the prerogative of the artists."

14/10/2003 17:04