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Quick Takes: Beatles' sales strong on iTunes

November 24, 2010

When Apple Inc. announced last week that the Beatles' catalog would at long last be available for legal downloading on iTunes, many skeptics groused that the two entities had come together too late: Everyone who cares about the group's music long ago found a way to store it on their PCs, laptops or MP3 players.

Apparently not.

Apple said Tuesday that 450,000 Beatles albums and 2 million individual tracks were downloaded during the first week they went up online.

That translates to well more than $8 million spent on Beatles downloads out of the gate, using the single album download price of $12.99 and $1.29 per song. It doesn't take into account several double albums priced at $19.99 or the digital Beatles box set that iTunes offers for $149.

At the same time the Beatles finally joined the digital world, Amazon began discounting the remastered physical CDs that were released last year, with individual albums now selling for $7.99, double sets for $11.99 and $12.99 and the 16-CD stereo box set priced at $129.99, making the tangible versions cheaper than the virtual ones. Consequently, six Beatles titles are in the Top 100 of Amazon's ranking of its bestselling music titles as of Tuesday.

—Randy Lewis

Palin show's ratings decline

It's a flippin' big rollback, is what it is.

The second episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" on TLC premiered Sunday with 3 million total viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. That's a hefty audience by basic-cable standards, but it's a long trek downhill from the record-setting pace of 5 million viewers for the series premiere the previous week.

A 40% decline suggests that the early viewing was driven by the curious, who quickly checked out once they had crossed Episode 1 off their list. The series showcases the plain-spoken former Alaska governor and her family engaged in a full range of outdoorsy adventures.

Far worse for TLC: The audience that did come back was a little grayer around the temples than network executives like to see. The median age of the Palin viewer was 57, 15 years older than TLC's average.

—Scott Collins

Quaid credits Canada's system

Randy Quaid says that if it weren't for Canada's refugee system, he and his wife would be dead.

The actor made the comment Tuesday as he entered his immigration and refugee board hearing in Vancouver, where he and his wife, Evi, were picked up last month on an outstanding warrant in the United States.

The pair quickly claimed refugee status and their hearings have been conducted amid their bizarre claims of being hunted by what they call "Hollywood star whackers." Quaid and his wife remain fugitives from a Santa Barbara court after the couple failed to appear last week for their arraignment on felony vandalism charges for the fourth time.

—Associated Press

Use of Brody's likeness blocked

A federal judge in L.A. has blocked the makers of a thriller film starring Adrien Brody from using the Oscar-winning actor's likeness until he is fully paid for his role.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer issued a ruling this week blocking the makers of "Giallo" from continuing to distribute, market or sell the movie in the United States.

Brody, 37, sued last month before the film went on sale in the States, claiming he was owed $640,000 and its DVD release could cost him $2 million. In a sworn declaration, he said the film's producers lied to him about financing and vastly overstated how much the film's Italian distribution rights were worth.

The actor tried unsuccessfully to block the film's sale, but Fischer's ruling states Brody is likely to win the case and his likeness can no longer be used in the film or to promote it.

Brody's face appears twice on the DVD cover of "Giallo," which features him playing an FBI agent hunting a serial killer in Italy.

—Associated Press

Southland poets win fellowships

Three Southern California poets are among those who will receive 2011 literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, it was announced Tuesday.

From more than 1,000 applicants, 42 poets were chosen; each will receive $25,000.

Among them were Maggie Nelson, a poet, memoirist and critic, and a professor of writing at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia whose most recent book is "Bluets"; Cecilia Woloch, a lecturer in the creative writing program at USC whose fifth collection of poetry, "Carpathia," was published last year; and David Hernandez of Long Beach, whose work includes the award-winning poetry collection "Always Danger."

Other California NEA literature fellows include Alexandra Teague of Oakland, Chanda Feldman of San Francisco, Jericho Brown of San Diego and Killarney Clary of Aptos.

—Carolyn Kellogg

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