At long last, the works of the Beatles are available in iTunes.
The digital content is exclusive to iTunes, a representative of The Beatles' record company, EMI, told CNET. The exact length of that deal is unknown, but it will expire some time next year.
As of now, the iconic band's entire catalog can be purchased in Apple's iTunes Store. Each album comes with iTunes LP, which features additional content including lyrics, photos, and album art. A digital version of the Fab Four's entire body of work is also available for download for $149, and that comes with exclusive access to a video of the band's first U.S. concert, "Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964." Single albums are priced at $12.99, double albums at $19.99. Songs will cost $1.29 each.
This is a personal victory for Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as The Beatles were one of the most prominent holdouts from his online music empire. Apple had tried for years to acquire rights to The Beatles' catalog.
"We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes," said Jobs in a press release today. "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."
Apple hyped up the announcement over the last 24 hours with a splash page on its Web site promising that "tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget." After several hours of tech news sites buzzing aboutup its sleeve, that Apple would finally announce an agreement to offer The Beatles' music.
In a press release from Apple, and EMI, each of the surviving Beatles members or a representative was quoted about the news.
Paul McCartney: "We're really excited to bring the Beatles' music to iTunes. 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."
Ringo Starr: "I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes. At last, if you want it--you can get it now--The Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo."
Yoko Ono Lennon: "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."
Olivia Harrison: "The Beatles on iTunes--Bravo!"
The release of the band's music online marks the end of a long journey for both EMI and Apple. The two battled in courtrooms for years over a trademark dispute: Apple Corps, The Beatles' record company, versus Apple Inc.
In 1991, the two updated a 10-year-old agreement regarding how each of them would be allowed to use its trademarks. Apple Inc. (at the time known as Apple Computer Inc.) paid Apple Corps $27 million and agreed not to enter the music distribution business under the Apple name and logo. Apple Corps later said that the computer maker broke that agreement by opening the iTunes Store, and sued in 2003. Apple Computer eventually emerged victorious when a U.K. judge ruled that it was not in violation of the agreement because it was selling prerecorded content, not original music under the logo.
The dispute was officially resolved in 2007, when a new deal replaced the 1991 agreement, which prohibited Apple Inc. from distributing music through physical media such as CDs and cassette tapes.
CNET's Greg Sandoval contributed to this report.
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