Almost ten years after the launch of iTunes, the Beatles have landed. This morning Apple officially announced that the Beatles’ music catalogue would be available in their online music store. Apple said on its website “In 1964, the band that changed everything came to America. Now they’re on iTunes.”
This comes after a long holdout by The Fab Four, who have been reluctant to allow their music to be sold through digital download, pointing to the inferior quality of sound that didn’t do the catalogue justice. But now the surviving members of the band and Apple have reached an agreement, with Paul McCartney stating, “We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes. It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around.”
The Beatles music is one of the most complex sets of copyrights and ownership situations in the music industry. Ownership of the Beatle’s music catalog rests with various parties, including surviving members of the band Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison. The band’s record label EMI Group Ltd., Sony Corp. and the estate of Michael Jackson also control some rights.
If you go to iTunes you will see that the Beatles have taken over the store (sorry Rihanna, Kanye and Glee). There are 13 remastered studio albums available along with the two volume “Past Masters” compilation and “Red” and “Blue” Collections. Individual songs are also available for purchase for $1.29. The crème de la crème is the entire box collection of Beatles albums for $149. This collection includes an exclusive film from the band’s first U.S. concert in 1964, which was just two days after the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
While Beatles’ fans worldwide are joyful over the news of finally being able to download the band’s music it seems that the surviving band members are just as pleased with Ringo Starr stating “I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes.”