The entire Beatles catalog is finally coming to Apple – but it won’t be available from iTunes.
That’s because the release is coming from Apple Corps, the group’s publisher, rather than computer firm Apple Inc. The two companies are completly unconnected and have been involved in some intense courtroom discussions.
The music is being released on December 7 in the UK and December 8 in the US through a limited edition run of 30,000 specially designed USB sticks which hold the remastered editions of all 14 albums, plus features such as liner notes and mini-documentaries.
This is the first time the Beatles catalog is being made legally available in “virtual” format. The audio quality is certainly comparable to more traditional media such as CDs, with the songs available as both 320 KBps mp3 files and lossless FLAC files.
The deal is definitely for collectors only though: despite the presumably lower production costs, the Apple stick will cost $280. That’s $20 more than the list price for the entire remastered collection on CD, around a $100 more than that box set is going for on Amazon.
It remains to be seen if this is simply a cute marketing idea, or the first step towards finally releasing Beatles music for legal digital downloads.