On Tuesday, Apple announced a deal with representatives of the Beatles and the group’s record label, EMI Group, to put the entire catalog of Beatles music in the iTunes Store.
“We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. “It has been a long and winding road to get here.”
For years, The Fab Four have been the most notable holdout from selling their collective digital music in Apple’s popular iTunes store even though solo recordings by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison are available.
But Tuesday’s announcement brings the British pop royalty into the digital realm in a major way.
“It’s a very big deal,” says Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. “It’s a symbolic milestone.”
While the Beatles music has been available for four decades on vinyl, cassette, 8-track and CD, its migration to iTunes makes it more easily available to those who don’t own the songs in those other formats.
“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,” said Sir Paul McCartney.
All 13 of the group’s remastered studio albums are available for $12.99, or as double albums for $19.99. Individual songs can be downloaded for $1.29 each.
It’s not like owners of Apple iPods, Zunes and other mp3 haven’t been able to get the music onto their devices. All they had to do was copy their CDs to the computer and transfer the music.
“But there’s a value to saying ‘We’re the first to have the Beatles online,” says Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner. “Have you ever downloaded something you were pretty sure you had somewhere else? I know I have. Apple will sell lots of Beatles downloads.”
Paul Resnikoff, editor of the Digital Music News blog, says the Beatles on iTunes will appeal to the older demographic who never got with the program of ripping CDs. “A 16-year-old, if they’re interested, already has the music on their iPod, and figured out how to get it there. A 66-year-old may not know how to download the entire catalog in 30 minutes, and may really be interested in getting it from iTunes.”
Yikes I guess they think us geezers can’t do anything digitally.