Apple teased visitors heading to its homepage at www.apple.com of a major announcement, coming this morning at 10 AM EST. "Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget," the homepage text read. Initially, people were hoping that the news was related to the long-rumored "iTunes in the Cloud" service, which Apple has been building large data centers in N.C. to support, reportedly.Yesterday,
However, later in the day, a number of folks had figured it out: the news was that the Beatles were finally coming to iTunes. The WSJ confirmed. As it turns out, they were right.
Today, the homepage reveals the iconic faces of the Fab 4, and hotlinks to www.apple.com/beatles. "In 1964 the band that changed everything came to America. Now they're on iTunes," the site reads.
To promote the new partnership, Apple has prepared TV ads and is offering both a Beatles retrospective and a video of the Beatles performance at the Washington Coliseum in 1964. Both videos are available on the new "Beatles on iTunes" homepage.
For the remaining Beatles fans who haven't already ripped their CDs to iTunes or acquired the music through slightly less-than-legal means (aka "bittorrent"), the entire Beatles catalog is now available for $149. It ships with every A- and B- side ever recorded and iTunes LP content, which includes mini-documentarie on each of the studio albums, photos, notes and a video from the band's first U.S. concert, the above-mentioned Washington Coliseum event.
The terms of the deal that brought the Beatles to iTunes at long last were not revealed. However, it is known that the Beatles record label EMI has been under financial strain after its buyout of Terra Firma Capital Partners LP in 2007, according to the WSJ. Despite the age of the Beatles music, it's still one of the top music franchises around today, having sold 3.3 million copies of their albums in 2009 (source: Nielsen SoundScan, via WSJ).
Will You Buy the Beatles via iTunes?
Obviously the Beatles will sell well on iTunes - after all, we hadn't even finished writing this post when our phone started buzzing with excited Facebook updates from friends about the news. What we'll never know, however, is how well it could have sold if released earlier in the digital music era - back when people were still building their collections of tunes from the ground up. How many more would have bought the Beatles music from iTunes back then compared with today?
If you're a Beatles fan, will you purchase the music via iTunes - music you may already own - in order to get the extra digital content? Or are you content with the catalog you have now, however you may have acquired it?