It slipped out a bit early, but the Beatles complete back catalog is available through iTunes. The individual albums clock in at $12.99 (with the Past Masters and the White, Red and Blue albums are $19.99) while a boxset of the Beatles' entire work is available for $149. Individual tracks are $1.29 each. The boxset includes all 13 of the band's studio albums, Past Masters and an iTunes LP with mini-documentaries, photos, notes and more. The mini-documentaries were initially featured with last year's CD boxset and are also included on the individual albums. The band's mono collection does not appear to be available at this time. The iTunes page has a number of features, including ads, a highlight reel and the first-ever Beatles' concert on U.S. soil in 1964.
Apple updated the iTunes Store's front page to officially announce the release shortly before 10 a.m. ET.
This is the culmination of a long and sometimes bitter battle that has its roots in a 1978 lawsuit between Apple Corps and Apple Computer. After winning a lawsuit against Apple Corps in 2006, Apple began actively courting the surviving band members and their heirs. It was a long and winding road indeed as the Beatles spent the interim releasing both the remastered albums and Rock Band: The Beatles. As the years slipped by and iTunes continued to dominate the music industry, it became more of a "when" and not an "if" the Beatles were going to be on iTunes. Paul McCartney even starred in an iPod ad in 2007. The group's solo efforts have been available for a few years as well.
So, why now? The Beatles are certainly no strangers to arriving late to the emerging technology game -- the group's arrival on CD didn't happen until 1987. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, part of it had to do with the plethora of lawsuits between the two companies. Another is making sure both surviving Beatles -- McCartney and Ringo Starr -- along with the heirs to John Lennon's and George Harrison's estates (yes, we're talking Yoko here) had to be on the same page regarding the release. With the release of the remastered albums, it was just a matter of time before those tracks ended up somewhere. Steve Jobs lobbied hard to make sure it was iTunes and not Amazon. Apple's abolishment of DRM in the interim probably helped the negotiations.
Is this the sort of huge, groundbreaking announcement that it could have been even a year or two years ago? No, the Beatles missed the yellow submarine on this one. Had the two Apple companies reached an agreement in 2006, it would have been worthy of a special media event complete with branded iPod. For that, you'll need to see if one of these sets are still available on Ebay.
Regardless, for those of us holding out for the iTunes release -- myself included -- these albums are worth owning. You're getting the remastered CDs, which are a higher audio quality, at a price comparable to the actual physical CD release, which ranges around $15 for the individual albums and $259 for the boxset, though Amazon carries that for roughly $155 before dropping the price this morning to $129.99, most likely in response to Apple's announcement.
So, download an album and revel in the fact that you can relax at the end of your hard day's night with the Beatles on iTunes.
All 13 Legendary Beatles Studio Albums & Special Digital Box Set
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."
"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 Yoko Ono Lennon.
"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.