Not just happy to be the most influential and successful pop band in history, in 1968 the four members of the Beatles founded Apple Corps, home to Apple Records, Apple Retail, Apple Films and Apple Publishing among others.

“We find ourselves in business,” Paul McCartney told a journalist when the company was announced.

In reality, the company’s recording studio would go on to see the likes of Marc Bolan, Harry Nilsson and the Beatles’ own George Harrison record there, while Apple Publishing would be behind huge hits for other artists such as Harry Nilsson’s Without You alongside the Beatles’ output.

Other ventures such as Apple Electronics and the Apple Boutique became costly misadventures for the company, but for nearly 50 years Apple Corp’s success has been in protecting the band’s legacy.

Key achievements

  • Publishing and releasing some of the most loved and critically-respected music of the 20th century
  • Maintaining the Beatles’ legacy by aggressively chasing down any unauthorised use of their music
  • Funding and distributing a range of music, films and even electronics that would otherwise have struggled to find funding

 Lessons for your store

  1. Protect your ideas – you might not have a classic album to protect but if you’ve got a great idea or niche, make sure you keep it.
  2. Try things out – for every misstep, Apple Corp found a great success.
  3. Know where you stand – one of the biggest challenges for Apple Corps came when the band split up because it took a lot of discussions (and arguments) to work out who got what.