Beatles for Sale: iTunes Begins Selling the Fab Four’s Back Catalogue

By on Thursday, 18th November 2010 at 11:00 am

So the biggest news of the digital music world this week has to be the announcement by Apple’s iTunes that they had finally reached an agreement with the Beatles‘ Apple Corps so that the Fabs’ albums could be sold by the online music retailer. But what does it all mean? It means anyone with purchasing power can now obtain – legally – any of the Beatles’s official releases. Strangely, according to this Australian article, the price of albums varies by country. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

To be honest, this purported ‘Holy Grail’ of all iTunes licensing deals doesn’t mean much to me, as I already own all the Beatles’ albums I want to own on CD or cassette. I received my first Beatles album at age 8 for Christmas (‘A Hard Day’s Night’) and saved up my pennies over the years to buy my favourites based on what songs were on the albums. Even though I, along with the rest of the record buying public, have the opportunity to purchase any official Beatles track, you won’t see me running to iTunes to complete my collection. Even though the digital music age has been around quite a while now and there has been a definite consumer shift from buying albums to buying individual songs, like Elbow, I never agreed with the single mp3 download. To me, something feels definitely wrong about being able to choose to buy ‘Nowhere Man’ or ‘In My Life’ from ‘Rubber Soul’ and potentially miss out on songs like ‘The Word’ and ‘Wait’.

Maybe this move will make the casual Beatles fan more eager to check out the more neglected parts of their back catalogue? The ones that think ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ is the end all and never bothered to go backward through the early days of Beatlemania? I still maintain to this day that while ‘Please Please Me’ is handicapped by covers, the sheer simple brilliance of tracks like ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ (recorded amazingly in just one take, in mono and on a two-track recording machine) make it a worthy album to own, even if you’ve only ever been in love with the Beatles during their psychedelic period. (Really. I got into an argument with a kid in my freshman biology class who swore by ‘the White Album’.)

I would be very curious to hear what you think about this development. Do you like the idea of being able to buy these songs and album digitally? Will this encourage you to investigate the Fabs further? Or are you just not bothered? Comment away.

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