The Beatles on Your iTunes Playlist
If you want The Beatles on your iTunes playlist, you rip a CD. If Steve Jobs wants The Beatles on your iTunes playlist, he enters years of negotiations with the the estate holders and the two remaining members of one of the biggest bands in history.
What Seemed Like It Would Never Happen…The Beatles on iTunes
Though the terms of the deal were not revealed, we now know that Apple, EMI (The band's record label), and Apple Corps (The band's company) have come to an agreement to release the band's 13 remastered studio albums as well as Past Masters Volumes 1 and 2 as well as the Red and Blue collections on iTunes, as either full albums or individual song purchases. Furthermore, Apple is selling the Box Set, which is a collection of 256 songs, and a concert video of the Beatle's first concert in the states at the Washington Coliseum in 1964 for $149.99–the ultimate Beatles collection. But why is this a big deal?
It's no secret that the groups owning the rights to The Beatles' catalog went through a long period of negotiations with Apple as they tried to figure out the terms. While most of the music industry has seen a decline in sales over the years, The Beatles have continued to sell. The Wall Street Journal that in 2009, 39 years after the band's breakup, they sold the third-highest number of any act in the US, at 3.3 million albums sold.
It's reported that those who have worked with the two remaining members and the estates have found that the parties can take a long time to reach an agreement.
Apple had the added challenge of an ongoing legal battle with Apple Corp over the tech company's entry into the music business. Jobs, being a longtime fan of the band himself, has many times tried to strike a deal with the group, but has been unable to do so.
Finally that deal has been reached, "I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes,‚Äù said Ringo Starr in the press release, ‚ÄúAt last, if you want it‚Äîyou can get it now‚ÄîThe Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo.‚Äù
Yoko Ono Lennon, who just months ago seemed to hint that it wasn't happening, said, "In the joyful spirit of Give Peace A Chance, I think it is so appropriate that we are doing this on John‚Äôs 70th birthday year.‚Äù
While Jobs said, "We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes…It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we‚Äôve had since we launched iTunes ten years ago.‚Äù
The Importance of Getting The Beatles on iTunes
The Beatles' music has been described as timeless. Even today, younger generations are discovering the band and and falling in love with their music all over again. While putting the band on iTunes means that a new generation will soon be introduced to The Beatles' catalog, this is also a huge turning point for the record industry.
As the sales above indicate, The Beatles, whose music one of the most notoriously protected collections in the recording industry, have been doing very well without the need to distribute their music through a digital means. And while this may not be the be all end all deal that will change the face of the recording industry, it's definitely a sign of the times when one of the most highly-coveted catalogs in the history of recorded music becomes available on a medium that the business has always been so reluctant to embrace.