The debut of music from The Beatles on iTunes and other digital music services may not translate into huge sales, analysts claim.

Across the years, music from the band has spent 1,278 weeks in the chart, generating 15 number one hits. The Beatles have sold in excess of 107,000,000 albums in the US alone.

The surviving Beatles are one of the last main acts to refuse to license their music for distribution through online music services, but the notion that tracks from the band will be made available in future is reality, not rumour, according to Sir Paul McCartney.

McCartney last week described a deal to make music from the band available online "virtually settled".

iTunes appears to be the front-runner to sell the music online first, but the debut of the tracks may not make a huge amount of difference to Apple.

Analysts say that releasing Beatles tracks through iTunes is unlikely to materially affect Apple's profits, as the company makes little money on iTunes sales.

"Having the Beatles on iTunes is fabulous, but it's a nonevent," said W.R. Hambrecht analyst Matthew Kather. His sentiment was echoed by American Technology Research analyst, Shaw Wu.