Apple finally gets rights to Beatles catalog on iTunes

iTunes-BeatlesCan’t buy you Beatles on iTunes? That is, after years of negotiations, setbacks, and false starts, about to change. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will imminently announce its acquisition of the band’s legendary catalog, famously absent from the digital marketplace since, well, digital was born.

Spokesmen for Apple and EMI refused requests for comment, and insiders say that label EMI could still renege, but if the deal does go through it should be massive for both parties, as well as consumers.

It would also bring to a close a decades-long antagonism between the band and the brand–the former accused the later of infringing on its Apple Corps logo trademark with its own apple icon. (The case was finally resolved in 2006, 28 years after its first filing).

Terms of the deal are still unknown, and may or may not be revealed when Apple makes a much-touted announcement tomorrow morning at 10am EST/7am PST.

UPDATE: It’s true, and it’s pretty much instantaneous; the band’s 13 remastered studio albums, the two-volume Past Masters compilation and the Red and Blue collections are now available on iTunes worldwide as either albums or individual songs. There is also an exclusive box set featuring the band’s first U.S. concert, Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964.

Here, the chorus of approvals from the official press release: 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.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from’s Music Mix:
‘Glee’ cast breezes past Beatles’ ‘Billboard’ record
John Lennon’s solo years: A major reissue campaign marks what would have been the Beatle’s 70th birthday

Comments (66 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3
  • PeterBilt

    What? The most overrated band of all time wasn’t on Itunes? Thats bogus homie. I finst to get me some yo

    • Kevin

      You’re right, the most influential band in the history of rock music is somehow overrated. Numbnuts.

      • dipshat

        Good news but i could care less. Because i (and i presume all other beatle fans out there) ALREADY OWN THE CD’S!

      • hghg

        I support Inter/racial relationships! I believe love has no color!

        :) _____blackWhiteFlirts.c-/0m _____ :)

        This club is for those of us that don’t discriminate! This is to all my people who don’t care about somebody’s ethnic background, just how they are on the inside.

        If you want to find a sincere Inter/racial relationship. If you are serious. Come and join us!

      • @dipshat

        And the LP’s!

    • nodnarb

      Did Larry David change his name to PeterBilt?

      • Al


    • Garry

      Wow, PeterBilt, you are a stupendous schmuck.

    • Andrew M

      I’m done with this board.

    • philip freeman

      over rated how? like your inflated opinion of yourself?

    • Skip182

      I agree. “The beetles were so influencial.” “The beetles were first.” Ok, whoopie. Being first does not make them great, it just makes them first. Did they change music? Yes, ofcourse they did. But that doesn’t make THEM good. Influencial? Yes. First? Yes. Good? Perhaps. Great? No. The beetles rank right there with nirvana as the 2 most overrated bands ever.

      • Dahlia

        It’s the BEATLES, not Beetles. It’s not like the name of the band wasn’t in the article for you to reference. Geesh.

      • BonBon

        Skip, think about what you’re saying. How can someone be influential but not good? The fact that they’re influential petty much implies that they were doing something that hundreds of millions of people thought was good. Here’s a fun fact: the Beatles played a key role in influencing how close microphones are placed to instruments when music is recorded. And I’m sure that happened because the Beatles were terrible.

      • Oh nyuk nyuk…

        Looks like I won’t be going to Skip to answer any music trivia questions.
        I’m surprised you didn’t spell Nirvana “Nervana”, ya dumb dingleberry.

      • Garry

        Skip, you are wallowing in your own ignorance and pitiful lack of knowledge about the Beatles’ greatness AND influence, and you’re embarrassing yourself.

    • Chris P.

      How are the Beatles overrated? They are literally the foundation of most music today.

      • atomic1fire

        The beatles are only loved because of nostalgia.
        besides, it’s not like Paul McCartney is any less rich without apple selling the beatles songs.

  • Why?

    Bad news.

  • Leja


  • Tracey

    People will be able to have individual songs here and there but I prefer listening to an entire album as a whole. It’s good news for fans and potential fans alike.

  • Sheli

    Is this their big announcement for tomorrow?

  • Leo

    The kind of stupid thing about it is… it’s not like you can’t just import a Beatles song into iTunes. If someone really likes the band that much, they probably already have it on their computer. And if someone doesn’t, why on earth would they pay $1.29 to download one of their songs?

    • Maureen


    • Anth

      Yep. This is going to be a bust. Anyone who wants the albums has them on LP/cassette/CD. The people who want just the hits have 1 or The Red/Blue Albums. Kids who only download will do so for free illegally, or maybe copy their parents’ CDs. Some people might want to cherry pick a favorite or two but most music consumers have no use for the Beatles on iTunes.

      They’re the best-selling music act of all time…it’s not like access to their work has ever been difficult to obtain.

      • DaniVt

        I’m a big Beatles fan and only own 2 albums, I am very excited that they will be available on iTunes and am sure I will be purchasing a lot of their music. Also, fans of great music are maturing and being born every day, so although there may not be a huge rush of purchasers, the audience for music is continuously expanding and younger consumers will look to purchase solely in a digital format.

  • Briana

    Well, it’s about time!

  • Gary

    WOW ! If this is true it’s too little too late. I don’t know anyone who wants the Beatles songs who doesn’t already have them.This might have been a big deal 8 years ago-but now it just deserves a shrug.

  • LOL

    Kids who only download can now check out the Fab Four. It’s a win for all involved.

    • Fog cue

      Kids don’t borrow Beatles albums from public libraries and rip the songs to their computers?

      • Mike

        Who goes to a library? It went from Napster, to Limewire, to torrents… Most kids still buy albums though, at least of albums from bands they respect.

      • Molly

        umm actually i’m a normal teenager and i go to the library all the time. and all the kids i know go there too.

  • James

    Oh no!

  • asdf

    Totally off topic, but just as an FYI: Every time that ridiculously obnoxious ad sucks the entire EW page into the far column, I leave your site and don’t come back.

    • Brenna

      Ugh, I know. I hate that ad! What is the purpose of it?!

    • Kevin

      Well, obviously you came back… otherwise I wouldn’t have read your comment. But I agree, that ad is the worst.

      • Skip182


      • Mike

        Totally was thinking the same thing. But who wouldn’t? lol

  • Bobsyouruncle

    It is true, I knew about this last week :)

  • Kate

    Great, now when will AC/DC finally relent and put their music on iTunes?

    • Kevin

      My thoughts exactly…

  • Mindy

    This would have been so cool…. 2 years ago. However, as any self-respecting Beatles fan did, I bought the entire catalog of albums when the remasters came out last year. I even shelled out for the mono box set. Therefore, I now already have every Beatles song in my personal iTunes.
    Though, this would undoubtedly be a good way to introduce new fans to the Beatles.

    • Dana

      Exactly. This isn’t for the 17 million people who just bought the remasters. It’s for the millions and millions of folks who don’t buy CDs and it’s for the new generations of fans — not the old ones who already have the music on their iPods.

    • Kalie

      XrNqHS I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost impiosslbe.

  • Mindy

    Oh, and is it possible that Apple could be announcing something else tomorrow? Like a streaming service? Now THAT would be momentous.

    • Dana

      Perhaps it’s both. And the Beatles music will be the first offered through the streaming service.

Page: 1 2 3
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Music


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by VIP