In mid-November, Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. put their differences aside and finally agreed to put the entire Beatles music collection onto iTunes, the #1 retailer of music. Now that some time has passed, it’s time to take a look at the sales figures, and boy are they mighty impressive. Let’s do some comparing. During its very first week on iTunes, record company EMI reported that 2 million songs and 450,000 albums were sold. And now about two months later, Apple says iTunes customers have purchased 5 million songs and 1 million albums in total. For music that’s over 40 years old, these numbers are certainly staggering but expected; Beatles music rocks and now people have an easily accessible way to get their hands on it. Can you guess what the most popular song and album is? Well here’s your answer: “Here Comes the Sun” and Abbey Road, respectively.
After years of legal disputes, including trademark infringements, originating in the ’70s (it was Apple Corps. vs Apple Computer), the band and the tech company decided to make peace in 2007, and just three years later the two are able to celebrate with the release of the entire Beatles music catalog on iTunes.
Apple threw up a teaser page last night that said, “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.” This morning at 10AM ET the teaser disappeared to reveal an image of the Fab Four and it reads, “The Beatles. Now on iTunes.” iTunes now offers the band’s 13 studio albums, ranging from Please Please Me (1963) to Let It Be (1970). Each remastered album comes with their respective tracks, a mini-documentary, and iTunes LP content (which includes liner notes and photos); they priced at $12.99 and individual tracks go for the standard $1.29. The mini-documentaries are “album only” purchases.
In addition to the 13 studio albums, iTunes also offers Past Masters, Vols. 1 & 2, the 1988 release that bundles 33 Beatles songs that were not included on the original U.K. albums. The store also sells The Beatles (1962-1966) collection known as “The Red Album”; it includes 26 popular Beatles songs ranging from their debut up until the release of Revolver. The Beatles (1967-1970) or ”The Blue Album” includes 28 popular Beatles songs from their later years. The “Red” & “Blue” albums released simultaneously in 1973, three years after the band broke up. Past Masters, Vols. 1 & 2 and the “Red” & “Blue” albums cost $19.99 each; like their studio album counterparts they come with iTunes LP content.
And finally there’s the Beatles-iTunes motherload. For $149 you can make your life easy and purchase The Beatles Box Set which includes all 13 studio albums, Past Masters, Vols. 1 & 2, and a video of the band’s first U.S. concert–the 1964 show at Washington Coliseum. The box set comes with every mini-documentary from the individual albums, as well as a ton of iTunes LP content.
That about sums it up. The Beatles are on iTunes. Boom. Besides adding all this amazing content to iTunes, Apple has put together a new ad campaign featuring Beatles songs and black-and-white photos. Head over to Apple’s new Beatles page to watch all five ads. There you’ll also find a link to watch the 1964 show at Washington Coliseum; the 41 minute concert (which is a ”worldwide iTunes exclusive”) will be available to stream for free on the site for the remainder of the year.
Look after the break for the official PR. In it Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the two remaining Beatles Ringo and Paul, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, and EMI Group CEO Roger Faxon share their excitement and relief that the Beatles collection has finally arrived on iTunes.
I happened to purchase the physical Beatles box set when it released in limited quantities last year, but I’m glad the entire collection is available in the world’s largest online retailer of music. The ease of previewing and downloading tracks will give newcomers a healthy dose of some of the greatest music ever produced. With The Beatles: Rock Band and Beatles music on iTunes, the current generation of young people is pretty much golden.
Director Robert Zemeckis (A Christmas Carol (2009), The Polar Express), in collaboration with Disney, is remaking The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine feature film. In 3D. The original 1968 movie was animated and trippy and featured a soldier named Old Fred, the Blue Meanies, and of course The Beatles and their brilliant soundtrack. Zemeckis will be using 3D performance-capture technology for the remake. And the (new) Fab Four are: Cary Elwes, Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz and Adam Campbell are George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, respectively. Look after the break to compare the actors to the real fab four.
Not so sure how all this is going to turn out. But I’ll give it to the casting crew: all four selections are British and Serafinowicz was raised in Liverpool. And I love Beatles music.
“On December 7th, 2009 at 1:30pm GMT Starbucks invited musicians from all over the world to sing together at the same time to raise awareness for AIDS in Africa. In that one breathtaking moment, musicians from 156 countries played “All You Need is Love” together. Watch now, as musicians from all around the world come together and share a song.”
That’s right: 156 countries. 1 song. Same tempo. Singing/playing The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.” This unique wordwide event was organized by Starbucks to raise awareness for the fight against AIDS in Africa. “In just one year in partnership with (RED), Starbucks has generated money equivalent to more than 7 million days of medicine to help those living with HIV in Africa.”
Japanese clothing brand Bape has teamed up with Apple Corp. Ltd. to fashion out new Beatles-inspired Bape t-shirts, sweaters, and coin pouches. This follows Apple Corp. Ltd.’s collaboration with COMME des GARCONS that features Beatles-branded t-shirts and bags. The latter collab is expected to sell later this month, but there’s no word on the Bape set. With The Beatles Rock Band and now all these clothes it seems like The Beatles are taking over yet again. Fine by me.
Contemporary brand COMME des GARCONS has teamed up with folks at Apple Corps to fuse together their cool, under the radar fashion sense with the timely chicness of The Beatles.
COMME des GARCONS and Apple Corps Ltd. are very excited to announce that they are working together to create a brand new collection under the label The Beatles x COMME des GARCONS. The collection, designed by Rei Kawakubo and inspired by the Beatles and all their magical creations, will consist primarily of bags, with other items added from time to time.
The collection will first hit shelves at the Dover Street Market on November 27.
Let’s do this, bullet-point style.
- New iPods: It is very likely that new iPod touches and nanos will be announced. This is a “music event,” afterall. Both the touch and the nano will have 3.2MP cameras, and the touch will receive a built-in mic. Also, both devices will receive a storage upgrade, possibly to 64GB or higher. Overall design should remain the same. Due to the recent rumor that claims Apple is having technical difficultieswith the camera mechanisms with the iPod touch there is a chance the product release may not be instantaneous with the announcement. Also, the death of the iPod classic may be imminent.
- iTunes 9: Last we heard about iTunes 9 was a BGR source stirring up the rumor mill with these claims: Blu-Ray support; Facebook, Twitter, last.fm integration; and the ability to organize purchases apps. Blu-Ray support only makes sense if Apple plans on releasing iMacs and Macbooks with Blu-Ray drives. Also on the table is “Project Cocktail.” Sources say that albums sold in the iTunes Store will not only come with digital PDF booklets; they will also come with “interactive album material.” The point of this is to entice customers to purchase entire albums instead of only the 99 cent singles.
- THE BEATLES: According to Yoko Ono herself the entire Beatles collection will finally be digitally distributed on the iTunes Store. EMI, the record company, told The Financial Times that this will not be announced tomorrow, though. [Via Engadget]
- Apple TV: Ah yes, the “hobby” that is the Apple TV. Jobs announced this product three years ago, and not much has changed since its release (besides a UI upgrade via a software upgrade). The latest rumors predict a new Apple TV device that supports DVR and CableCARD functionality. Today, though, these exact rumors were shot down by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. He said such capability does not match Apple’s service scheme. And this makes sense; why would Apple allow its customers to freely record TV shows or movies when they have the iTunes Store for those needs. I do not see an upgrade to the aging Apple TV at this event. [Via Engadget]
- Apple tablet: The tablet will not be announced at this event. The most recent rumors point to a 2010 (or beyond) release.
- Steve Jobs appearance: It has been way too long since we’ve seen Jobs appear on stage at the helm of an Apple event. Now that his health has rebounded and he is back at work on the Apple campus in Cupertino, I expect him to at least make an appearence if not host the event.
Be sure to check back here for all the Apple news once it is announced. It takes place tomorrow at 10AM PDT (1PM ET). Get pumped!
Watch first! Then, my favorite lines below…
“Which Beatle do you find the scariest?” .. “Paul, Paul is the scariest.” .. “Paul’s scary in a Hollywood movie type of way. John, he’s scary in a deep and psychlogical way!” OR
“Once upon a time we were afraid of ghosts…we made Casper the Friendly Ghost. Once upon a time we were afraid of vampires…we made Count Chocula. When we were afraid of The Beatles…we made The Monkeys.” HA!