The Beatles' music has been made available on the iTunes Store, Apple Inc has announced.
On Monday Apple Inc published a notice on the iTunes Store homepage saying "an exciting announcement" would be made on Tuesday morning. This led to speculation that the world's largest music retailer would finally fill the gap caused by The Beatles' absence.
At 7am PST Apple changed its homepage to display a monochrome image of The Beatles, along with the words: "The Beatles. Now on iTunes." The picture linked to a Beatles section on the Apple website containing links to the iTunes store, performance clips, TV ads, and footage from the group's concert at the Coliseum, Washington, DC, on 11 February 1964.
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've had since we launched iTunes ten years ago.
In 2009 The Beatles sold the third-highest number of albums of any act in the United States, with sales of 3.3 million. The delay in reaching an agreement on digital sales is believed to be due to contractual disagreements between the three parties, although solo works by the former members have been available to purchase online for some time.
Sixteen albums are available to purchase on iTunes, for $12.99/£10.99. Individual songs cost $1.29/£0.99 each, and the complete works are available for $149/£125. The albums come with iTunes LP extras including photos and lyrics.
The Beatles' music is initially available on iTunes in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the USA.
I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes. At last, if you want it – you can get it now – The Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo.
The announcement effectively settles a dispute which has run since 1978 when The Beatles' representatives filed a lawsuit against Apple Computer, as it was then known, for trademark infringement over the name and symbol used by the US company. The case was settled in 1981 for an undisclosed sum plus an agreement that the technology company would not compete in the music business.
In 1989 Apple Corps sued again, claiming that Apple Computer had violated the terms of the previous settlement by adding increased musical capabilities to its hardware. After 100 days in court an agreement was reached in 1991 and Apple Computer payed a sum of roughly $29 million.
Apple Corps sued once more in 2003 after the iTunes Music Store was launched, which they alleged violated the 1991 agreement. The US company emerged victorious in 2006 after a High Court judge in London found in their favour and ordered Apple Corps to pay legal costs.
A settlement was reached in early 2007 whereby the technology company took control of the trademarks and licensed them back to Apple Corps. Later that year Neil Aspinall was succeeded by Jeff Jones as Apple Corps' CEO, which paved the way for the remastered Beatles music on compact disc, The Beatles: Rock Band and reissues of various recordings from the Apple Records back catalogue.
Here's the full press release from Apple Inc:
LONDON and CUPERTINO, California – November 16, 2010 – Apple Corps, EMI and Apple® today announced that the Beatles, the most influential and beloved rock band in music history, are now available for the first time on the iTunes Store® (www.itunes.com). Starting today, the group's 13 legendary remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs, the two-volume "Past Masters" compilation and the classic "Red" and "Blue" collections are available for purchase and download on iTunes® worldwide as either albums or individual songs. Fans can also get a special digital "Beatles Box Set" featuring the "Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964" concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles' very first US concert.
"We're really excited to bring the Beatles' music to iTunes," said Sir Paul McCartney. "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."
"I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes," said Ringo Starr. "At last, if you want it – you can get it now – The Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo."
"We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we've had since we launched iTunes ten years ago."
"The Beatles on iTunes – Bravo!" said Olivia Harrison.
"The Beatles and iTunes have both been true innovators in their fields," said EMI Group CEO Roger Faxon. "It's a privilege for everybody at EMI to work with Steve Jobs and with Apple Corps' Jeff Jones and their teams in marking a great milestone in the development of digital music."
Each of the Beatles' 13 legendary remastered studio albums, including "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Revolver," "The Beatles [The White Album]" and "Abbey Road" include iTunes LPs, which create an immersive album experience with a beautiful design and expanded visual features including a unique mini-documentary about the creation of each album. The two-volume "Past Masters" compilation and the classic "Red" and "Blue" collections are also available.
Single albums are available for purchase and download for $12.99 each, double albums for $19.99 each and individual songs for $1.29 each.
The special digital "Beatles Box Set" ($149) contains the 13 remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs and all mini-documentaries, "Past Masters," and the "Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964" concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles' very first US concert in its entirety. In addition, Beatles fans can stream and view the "Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964" concert film from iTunes for free for the remainder of this calendar year.
Apple Corps Ltd. was founded by The Beatles in 1968 to look after the group's own affairs. The London-based company has administered the catalogue of The Beatles releases of the 1960s that have sold to date more than 600 million records, tapes and CDs. Since the 1990s, Apple has piloted new Beatles projects that have become benchmarks for pioneering accomplishment and which have included The Beatles Anthology projects, the 29-million selling album The Beatles 1, The Beatles LOVE show and CD and the 09/09/09 release of The Beatles Remastered catalogue and The Beatles Rock Band game. Further information on The Beatles' projects can be found at www.thebeatles.com.
EMI Music is one of the world's leading music companies, representing artists spanning all musical tastes and genres. Its record labels include Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, Capitol Latin, Capitol Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Records Nashville, Manhattan, Parlophone and Virgin.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
Also on this day...
- 2009: Paul McCartney awarded the third Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
- 1973: UK album release: Mind Games by John Lennon
- 1965: Paul McCartney compères for Gene Pitney
- 1965: George Martin decides the running order for Rubber Soul
- 1964: Television: Top Of The Pops
- 1963: Live: Winter Gardens Theatre, Bournemouth
- 1962: Radio: The Friday Spectacular
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
- 1957: Live: Stanley Abattoir social club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.