In a highly publicized announcement today, Apple and record label EMI have hammered out a deal to bring all 13 digitally re-mastered studio albums to the iTunes music service.
In a press release about the announcement, Apple wrote, “Each of the Beatles’ 13 legendary remastered studio albums, including “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Revolver,” “The Beatles [The White Album]” and “Abbey Road” include iTunes LPs, which create an immersive album experience with a beautiful design and expanded visual features including a unique mini-documentary about the creation of each album. The two-volume “Past Masters” compilation and the classic “Red” and “Blue” collections are also available.
Some speculated that this announcement was going to cover new software upgrades, and possibly move to a “cloud” based system for iTunes–where customers personal music libraries are downloaded and kept on an off-site server. Rumors and whispers among the tech blogging community that a recent meeting with EMI was more likely to bring The Beatles to the iTunes platform.
“We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “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.”
The strife between Apple and the record label date back to 1968, when the Beatles, who wanted to have more control over their music and profits, started their own organization by the name of Apple Corps. HowStuffWorks.com has written an extensive article on the history behind Apple and Apple Corps and their tumultuous history.
In the early 1980s, the primary ways to purchase a copy of music were to buy an LP, 8-track tape or cassette tape. It would be years before the computer and the media center would merge technologies. So, when the Beatles’ company Apple Corps sued the up-and-coming Apple Computer in 1981, it seemed reasonable that the computer company would agree to never be in the music business. The two companies instead agreed to share the disputed trademark in completely separate markets: Apple Corps in the music business, and Apple Computer in the computer business.
When Apple started developing computers that made sounds, the company decided its 1981 agreement needed revisiting. Attempts at renegotiating in 1987-88 led nowhere, and Apple went on to release its first computers with Musical Digital Interface (MIDI) in 1989. Apple Corps snapped to attention, claiming a violation of the 1981 settlement. After another round in court, Apple Corps and Apple Computer reached a new settlement in 1991 with undisclosed terms.
In 2003, Apple Computer’s launch of iTunes created a stir throughout the music business. With iTunes, Apple was selling music track-by-track, allowing you to download your purchases and copy them onto your iPod. Apple was taking the downloadable media market by storm, even in a time where Internet music sharing was creating growing legal controversies. Suddenly, each recording company and artist was in a position to either embrace or reject this new way of selling music.
Apple Corps came forward again in 2003 stating that the launch of iTunes was another breach in their trademark agreement. In the meantime, though, Apple Corps had other issues, fighting EMI in another of a long history of lawsuits for unpaid royalties they claimed were owed to the Beatles for releases in the ’90s. In 2007, Apple Corps finally settled both cases, including completely replacing their trademark agreement with Apple, Inc.
Once both cases were settled, the question on every tech blogger and music fanatics mind was when Apple Corps was finally going to release the studio albums onto iTunes for digital consumption. Every time Apple made an announcement of some type, the speculation and rumors would increase again only to be shot down by both companies.
But now, you can download and purchase single albums for $12.99 each, double albums for $19.99 each and individual songs for $1.29 each on iTunes.
You can read the full HowStuffWorks article by following this link HERE