The Beatles may be the most successful band in history and may have captured and inspired the minds of a generation, but when it comes to the online music world, they remain a few steps away from “Revolution Number 9”, or so it appears.

The long-running rumour that music from the band may eventually make it to iTunes has a long and storied history. It is part of the regular hubbub of chatter which pops up from time-to-time. It seems to have a life of its own.

We’ve even noted here that the mooted (but don’t forget, still not officially confirmed) September 9 iPod product refresh Apple keynote may see music from the band at last appear on iTunes. That’s because the band’s label, Apple Corps. will release The Stereo Albums boxed set on that day, as will the Beatle’s Rock Band game make its debut.

To the strains of “Revolution Number 9”, some observed the date – 9/9/09 – could be perfectly starred for music from the band to make it online, particularly given the coincidence between Apple Corps. and Apple Inc.’s September 9 event date.

We’re sorry to report that Apple Corps. has since made a slight move to defer this speculation, with an updated press release announcing the band’s boxed set now saying: "Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalog will continue. There is no further information available at this time."

More on the boxed set, which also drove speculation the music would be made available within Apple’s rumoured Cocktail format: “For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. On the same date, two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released.”

“Within each CD’s new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the ‘Past Masters’ set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.”

Now that Apple Corps. has changed its tune slightly, speculation can still continue, after all, are the two Apple brands simply trying to quell such discussion so as to make a bigger splash when they announce the news? Or do fans of The Beatles have to continue to wait while Apple Corp’s digital music release discussions wend their way down the ‘Long And Winding Road’.

We’ll see. We do think Apple Corps. needs to get something going on digital downloads, as fans will eventually become frustrated at the delay of such an initiative…

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