The iTunes deal with The Beatles is, unsurprisingly, a rather special arrangement according to loose-lipped industry sources who’ve been talking to Reuters. The report says Apple Corps, The Beatles’ record company, is receiving direct digital download royalties from iTunes while the “songwriting mechanical royalties” go to the catalogue owners Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Effectively, the Beatles iTunes deal is a licensing arrangement rather than the usual royalties split. Folk in the know says that means the royalty split is more lucrative for The Beatles than other artists. That’s a big deal because other artists including Cheap Trick and the Allman Brothers have unsuccessfully argued that digital download sales should be treated as licensing rather than straight retail purchases. Expect other major artists to start shouting the odds with Apple imminently once more details of the iTunes Beatles deal leak out.