On Monday November 15th, The Beatles showing up on iTunes appeared to be so far away and now it looks just as if they’re here to stay for good. On Tuesday November 16th, Apple proclaimed that the Fab Four’s full catalog is now being offered for download from the iTunes Store. The entire box set of the group can be purchased fora low price of $149, with many single tracks selling for $1.29 each. Just a single album costs $13, with double albums such as the Past Masters compilation going for $20.
The 13 remastered albums will also come with iTunes LP features, along with a mini documentary on the making of the album. The completed box set also attributes an exclusive: the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964” film of the Beatles’s first U.S. concert. However, if you’re not ready to pay the full cost of the complete discography, don’t worry: everybody will be able to stream the video from iTunes for free for the rest of 2010.
“We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in the company’s press release. “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.”
Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr chimed in as well in the company’s release. “We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes,” said 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,” Starr added. “At last, if you want it-you can get it now-The Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo.”
John Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono Lennon and George Harrison’s wife Olivia Harrison also voiced their approval as well. “In the joyful spirit of Give Peace A Chance, I think it is so appropriate that we are doing this on John’s 70th birthday year,” said Lennon. “The Beatles on iTunes-Bravo!” said Harrison.
The emergence of the Beatles on iTunes is the crest of years and years of rumors, half starts, and legal issues between Apple and the Beatles’s Apple Corps. In a day and age where most fresh music is now published online, the Beatles have long been the most prominent holdout from digital downloads. The closest that The Beatles from Liverpool ever got was sometime last year, when the limited edition of the band’s remastered discography was at that time introduced on a USB flash drive with high quality digital tracks.
Contrary to Steve Jobs’s widely recognized love of the Beatles, Apple and Apple Corps have had a twisty legal history spanning for more than three decades. The companies first met in 1978, shortly after Apple’s beginning, when Apple Corps sued the nascent computer company for trademark infringement; they settled a few years later, with Apple agreeing to stay out of the music market. That was until 1989 rolled around, just when Apple started selling a Mac that could synthesize music; Apple Corps sued saying that the actions dishonored the earlier deal.
Both companies settled again for a second time in 1991. That lasted until 2003. At that time Apple presented the iTunes Store, over which Apple Corps launched another new suit, once again aiming to Apple’s approach into the music endeavor as a exceedingly clear abomination of the two companies’ agreement. That court case was dragged on for many years until 2007, when the two companies agreed upon a completely new deal to come to an agreement regarding the breach. By the conditions of the new deal, Apple will own all of the rights pertaining to Apple trademarks and would in turn license those rights back to Apple Corps.
With Tuesday’s move, Apple evolves into the first music download provider to offer the Beatles, and that is without a doubt a feather in Steve Jobs’s personal hat. But, furthermore, it just means we no longer will need to endlessly wonder when the Beatles will finally show up on iTunes. There just isn’t a price tag that you can put on that!