The Beatles’ albums are priced at $12.99 each. Individual songs cost $1.29, same as the highest price tier for best-selling tracks from other artists.
In addition to the studio albums, iTunes is selling three compilation discs for $19.99 each: Past Masters Vol. 1 & 2, the Red Album and the Blue Album. The entire catalog is available as an iTunes LP for $149, and includes a film of the band’s first U.S. concert, “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964.” The video is also available as a free stream from iTunes through the end of the year.
An agreement to put The Beatles on iTunes — or on any digital music store, for that matter — at one point seemed unthinkable. Apple’s relationship with the band was rocky ever since Apple Corps, The Beatles’ label, sued Apple Computer over trademark infringement in 1978. The companies eventually worked out their legal differences, but concerns over pricing and piracy kept The Beatles out of the digital download business.
A press release from Apple is mostly filled with exclamations of joy. There’s no mention of why the deal took so long or what was the tipping point.
“We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes,” Paul McCartney said. “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.”
The question now is whether The Beatles will make deals with other music download stores, such as Amazon, or subscription services, such as Zune Pass and Rhapsody. Apple’s press release only refers to the “Live at Washington” video as a “worldwide iTunes exclusive,” suggesting that The Beatles are at least open to bringing their music elsewhere.