Happy holidays from the Beatles: As of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24, the band’s music will finally be available on streaming services worldwide.
The group announced the news in a 35-second video featuring a medley of its biggest hits that kicks off to the sound of the 1963 single “She Loves You.” An accompanying news release simply said: “Happy Crimble, with love from us to you.”
However, the surviving members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Universal Music Group, which controls the band’s recorded music, made no statements other than the fact that the Beatles’ catalog — 13 original albums and four compilations — will now be playable on nine subscription streaming music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, Tidal, Deezer, Microsoft Groove, Napster/Rhapsody and Slacker Radio.
Known as singular holdouts in the digital era, the Beatles, the best-selling group of all time, resisted offering its songs on iTunes for more than seven years before coming to an agreement with Apple in 2010. “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,” Mr. McCartney said at the time. The band sold 450,000 albums and two million individual songs in its first week on the service, according to Apple.
“Apple has posted a new TV ad on their YouTube page promoting the Beatles on iTunes. The ad is called “Covers” and shows off many of different album covers from The Beatles in an animated fashion. The ad ends with “The Beatles on iTunes”.
The Beatles first appeared on the iTunes store back in November 2010. The new TV ad seems part of another promotion announced earlier today of a free animated version of the band’s Yellow Submarine book as an exclusive on Apple’s iBookstore.”
Also, speaking of iTunes and the Beatles, Rolling Stone magazine has just released “Rolling Stone’s Beatles Album-by-Album Guide“, which is an interactive iPad app with the stories behind each LP, photos, statistics and reviews. The iPad Insight blog has more. This title is also available in hard copy from news stands as a special edition of Rolling Stone magazine.
“From today (9 December) an exclusive Beatles “Yellow Submarine” book that lets readers tap their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to immerse themselves in the legendary film’s colourful sights and sounds is available for free download at itunes.com/thebeatles. Featuring animated illustrations and text from the 2004 book, 14 full-colour video clips from the original 1968 film, audio clips of classic Beatles hits and Sir George Martin’s original score, plus original dialogue from the film. Actor Dean Lennox Kelly narrates the book which includes interactive features that let you tap the story’s wild array of butterflies, starfish and sea monsters to make them come alive.
The book, designed by Fiona Andreanelli, uses Heinz Edelmann’s original artwork from the film and its story has been adapted by Charlie Gardner from the film’s original screenplay, co-written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Eric Segal.
Inspired by The Beatles’ song of the same name, “Yellow Submarine” dives 80,000 leagues beneath the sea to Pepperland, a musical paradise where Sergeant Pepper’s band plays on until the music-hating Blue Meanies invade, sealing the band inside a music-proof bubble and leaving it a silent wasteland. But Old Fred, captain of the Yellow Submarine, escapes to Liverpool and persuades Ringo – with a little help from his friends John, Paul and George – to join him on a magical adventure to return music and love to Pepperland.”
On the Beatles site front page at the moment there’s a short promotional film about what you’ll get in the free download.
The Beatles and iTunes have today announced that the three, boxed set “Anthology” series will be available for electronic download exclusively on iTunes from June 14.
The “Anthology” Volumes 1 – 3 (each originally released in 1995 and 1996 as three double CD sets) will be available for download separately. There will be an iTunes-exclusive “Anthology Box Set” with all 155 tracks from the three volumes combined, and there will also be an exclusive new 23-track “Anthology Highlights” collection of standout tracks from all three albums.
“Anthology” songs will also be available for individual download.
All tracks have been digitally remastered by the team of engineers at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios who were responsible for the remastering of all the Beatles original UK studio albums in 2009. The result, says the publicity, is “…the highest fidelity the catalogue has seen since its original release”. Sadly for collectors though there will be no physical CD’s or vinyl released. EMI Music has confirmed this with Steve Marinucci at Beatles Examiner.
A special “Anthology” video introduction and a “Meet The Beatles” radio show are available for free streaming at iTunes.com/TheBeatles starting today.
The “Meet The Beatles” radio show on the iTunes page has a 2 minute teaser, then three separate parts totaling just over 50 minutes. This is actually a cut-down version of a much longer three-part radio special called “Here, There and Everywhere” which was made for the launch of the Beatles Remastered catalogue in December 2009. It’s narrated by Paul Gambaccini and written and produced by Beatles historian Kevin Howlett.
Beatles Examiner reports that the two new iTunes exclusive “Love” tracks aren’t new – they date back to 2006 when George and Giles Martin originally mixed the music for the Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas theatrical production. To get the additional new tracks (“Fool on the Hill” and “Girl”) you have to download the whole Beatles “Love” album from the iTunes Store……that’s the only way they are officially available.
That got me thinking about how many more tracks might have been given the “Love” treatment back then and are just awaiting an opportune time for release.
And that reminded me of an interview Giles Martin gave on Australian radio when he was doing the worldwide publicity rounds for the “Love” CD back in 2006.
When explaining how they made “I Want To Hold Your Hand” he told The Music Show host Andrew Ford on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that there were quite a few more tracks sitting in the can ready to go:
Did you hear that? He said there’s a whole swag of Beatles rock songs that were prepared for Cirque du Soleil that were never used in the show and quote: “….maybe we’ll stick them out later on.” Giles specifically mentions “Love” versions of “Twist and Shout”, “She Loves You”, “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “A Hard Day’s Night”. I think we can look forward to more releases in the future.
Got an email from beatles.com , and from EMI Records this morning advising that the Beatles “Love”, on both the CD and the documentary film “All Together Now”, are available for the first time as downloads on iTunes.
The “Love” album includes exclusive, previously-unreleased “Love” versions of the songs “The Fool on the Hill” and “Girl”, and comes as an iTunes LP featuring an art gallery that blends images of the Beatles with colourful photos from the Las Vegas stage production. “Love” will also be available to purchase and download as individual songs.
The “All Together Now” documentary film will be offered with iTunes extras including the 84-minute film, three bonus featurettes and a trailer for the “Love” stage production. It will also be available to rent.
You can see short film trailers from the spectacular Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil live show here.
Not that it needed more advertising, but the marketing and commercial push around the Beatles becoming available for digital download on Apple’s iTunes continues.
In the lead-up to Christmas I noticed these point-of-sale display bins began appearing in some of the large record store chains here in Australia:
Seems that iTunes Beatles plastic gift cards of various denominations are being made available in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia (and probably many more countries). These cards are also available for purchase via the official Apple iTunes site, which says the “special edition” cards with Beatle images on the design can go towards any purchase in the iTunes Store, not just Beatles songs.
As you can see in the image above the gift cards are available in $25 and $50 (US and AUS) amounts, and in the US there’s a $149 gift card variant specifically to purchase the entire catalogue as a so-called “box set”. The same has been done for Canada, while in the UK there are gift cards for £25 pounds and £50 pounds.
On the Apple site there are also two “limited edition” cards of $100 and $50 US with different Beatle images:
"Limited Edition" $50 US iTunes Beatles Gift Card
"Limited Edition" $100 US iTunes Beatles Gift Card
Now I’ve noticed that the redeemed cards (i.e. they’ve been spent and are of no monetary value) have begun turning up on Ebay for sale as “collectable” items.
What do you reckon? Would you like to have as set of US, British, Canadian and Australian iTunes cards in your Beatles collection? Take this quick poll and lets find out what people think:
Well, the cryptic iTunes advertisement yesterday certainly had people speculating again:
Forget the fact that the term “…just another day” isn’t actually a Beatles song (it’s a Paul McCartney solo song), it was more those clocks being side-by-side that triggered off the guesswork that it was Beatles-related. Something about the position of the hands:
Thanks to the TechCrunch website for starting that one off. It was quickly followed up by the MacRumours site, too. Once that happened it was on for young and old. The New York Times then got in on the act, stating they had spoken to an anonymous insider who’d told them everything:
Apple is expected on Tuesday to announce that it has finally struck a deal with the Beatles, the best-selling music group of all time, and the band’s record company, EMI, to sell the band’s music on iTunes, according to a person with knowledge of the private deal who requested anonymity because the agreement was still confidential. (Read the full article)
Then today, finally, came confirmation. TheBeatlesentire catalogue is now available for digital download. The New York Times has updated its stories – this one in particular has some interesting history and background. And they’re also running an article with information about what we’ll pay for the Beatles back-catalogue digitally. Certainly from what I can see in the Australian iTunes Store its a premium price, thats for sure. (The outrage at the Aussie pricing by Apple is growing. See here and here).
There is one thing for free though if you are quick. On iTunes there’s a free download of the 1964 concert live at that Washington Colliseum, the Beatles first ever on US soil. Its quite fascinating to watch. Its the entire performance – complete with associated pandemonium, between-song banter, screaming, bad sound and a rawness thats revealing.
Thanks to Henry for sending me the MacRumours link. iTunes have an Artist page here.