After a cryptic tease, Apple confirmed Tuesday morning (November 16) the news that music fans have been waiting nearly eight years to hear: "The Beatles. Now on iTunes."
The long-awaited arrival of the Fab Four's music on the leading digital-music retailer came after a report on Monday by The Wall Street Journal that the long-simmering, lawsuit-filled feud between the Beatles' Apple Corps organization and Steve Jobs' Apple Computer might finally be put to rest with the arrival of the group's music on the iTunes store.
A click into the Beatles iTunes store reveals that fans can now download songs from all 13 of the group's original studio albums, as well as the Past Masters singles-and-rarities collection and the 1973 "Red" and "Blue" hits compilations. Also available is the $149 Beatles Box Set, which contains all of the band's remastered studio efforts, Past Masters, an iTunes LP with mini-documentary features on each of the studio albums, photos and an exclusive video of the band's first U.S. concert — which took place in 1964 in Washington, D.C. Footage from the Washington show also is being streamed at iTunes for free through the end of the year.
"We're really excited to bring the Beatles' music to iTunes," said Sir Paul McCartney in a statement announcing the deal. "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."
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr added, "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!"
The Beatles were long one of the most prominent holdouts to iTunes, which sparked frequent speculation that they were intent on launching their own branded download site. But with their arrival iTunes, fans can now download such hits as "A Hard Day's Night" for $1.29 apiece, or full albums for $12.99 each ($19.99 for the double-album sets) with special album-only additional documentary features on the studio releases.
"We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. "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 10 years ago."
The deal promises to be lucrative for both sides considering that in 2009, 39 years after their breakup, the Beatles were the third-highest-selling album act in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, moving 3.3 million copies.
It also plugs one of the biggest holes in the iTunes universe, which is still missing music from acts such as AC/DC and Kid Rock, after finally convincing holdouts such as Metallica and Led Zeppelin to come on board in recent years.
Are you excited about the Beatles' music finally being available at iTunes. Tell us in the comments.