Citing "people familiar with the situation," the paper says that the deal was being negotiated as recently as last week between Apple, representatives for the Beatles and their record label, EMI. The source also said Apple could still change its plans at the last minute.
Spokesmen for Apple, EMI and Paul McCartney declined to comment to the paper.
Apple and the group have had a long and often fraught relationship, and not just because the computer giant and the Beatles' custom label share a name (which was the cause of the first legal action between the two companies, in 1978).
Due to the complexities of the Beatles' finances, the group has been late to many developments: Its catalog was not released on CD until 1987, and boxed sets of unreleased material were not released until the mid-1990s. When the group's catalog was finally remastered and released last September, a press release simply said: "Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalogue will continue. There is no further information available at this time."
Apple iTunes, at Long Last, Gets Rights to Beatles [Wall Street Journal]