The Beatles’ Catalog Available on iTunes

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UPDATE:On Tuesday morning, Apple Corps., EMI and Apple Inc. officially announced that the Beatles‘ catalog is now on iTunes. All 13 of the band’s studio albums, plus the ‘Past Masters’ and ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ best-of compilations are available for purchase. For $149, fans can buy a special “box set” that features all the albums, the ‘Past Masters’ series, mini documentaries and ‘Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964,’ an iTunes-exclusive concert film of the Beatles’ first US performance.

“We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes,” Paul McCartney said in a statement. “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,” added Ringo Starr.

ORIGINAL POST:Steve Jobs may be co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc., but as a music fan, the Beatles have been the apple of his eye, so to speak. Ever since iTunes, Apple’s digital music platform, first launched in 2001, there has been talk about the day that they’d be able to offer the Beatles catalog to consumers and Jobs has constantly sought to make that happen.

On Monday, not long after iTunes posted a message through its online store advising users of an impending Tuesday announcement, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple Inc. “is preparing to disclose that its iTunes store will soon start to carry music by the Beatles.” While the details are still under lock and key, it is believed that some kind of deal was finally reached between Apple and the Beatles’ camp (including their record label, EMI).

With rumors already flying through the blogosphere about what kind of packages, bundles and other fanfare — a pre-loaded Beatles iPad, for example — might accompany such a partnership, just offering the Beatles’ pre-existing catalog in the digital domain alone would certainly be profitable for all involved parties. The Wall Street Journal article reports that last year — nearly four decades after the Fab Four took their final bow — the Beatles were the third top-selling band in the US, in terms of album sales.

Of course, this is not the first time that Apple Inc. and Apple Corp. — the Beatles’ corporate entity — have crossed paths. Famously, Apple Corp. has long attacked Apple Inc. for infringing on their name and logo. First brought to court in 1978, the lawsuit was settled in 1981 through a financial deal along with the further stipulation that Apple Inc. stays out of the music business. Nearly 20 years later, iTunes currently enjoys around 90 percent market share for digital downloads, while iPods remain the most popular portable digital music player.

Stay tuned for the official announcement from Apple Inc., scheduled for Tuesday morning.

by Benjy Eisen