Since its initial introduction at WWDC in June, users of iTunes Radio would be greeted with an absence of Beatles music, even when creating a specific “Beatles Radio” station. No explanation was given from Apple. Perhaps what’s most interesting here is that from the launch of the iTunes Music Store in 2003 until late 2010, Apple struggled to reach an agreement with Apple Corps to get The Beatles onto the store. This was due to a long series of legal battles with Apple Corps and Apple Inc, stretching back multiple decades. Until this past weekend, it appeared that The Beatles wouldn’t make it onto iTunes Radio either.
Previously, creating “The Beatles Radio” on either the iOS 7 or OS X versions of iTunes Radio would yield a station filled with an assortment of 1960s and 70s music, along with occasional instrumental Beatles covers, independent music from individual members of The Beatles, and very rarely, an album The Beatles were a guest on. Over the weekend, however, Apple flipped the green light, and The Beatles are now available for everyone to enjoy on iTunes Radio, just in time for the launch of iOS 7 this Wednesday.
After Apple’s huge marketing campaign in 2010 to let the world know they had finally scored a deal with The Beatles, and the personal triumph of Steve Jobs, who had worked tirelessly to see the deal through, to have the famous group missing from their newest music endeavor would have been a strange absence.
However, there’s a few reasons why The Beatles may have almost missed the deadline. The group has long been adverse to online streaming services, and often times is unwilling to license their music for digital services, avoiding both the likes of Rdio and Spotify to this day. Only Pandora has managed to score The Beatles. Secondly, you may also recall that Apple wasn’t able to secure a deal with Sony for iTunes Radio until the 11th hour, with news breaking of an agreement being made just 3 days before WWDC. Sony/ATV, Sony’s music publishing arm and the group in control of the publishing rights for The Beatles music catalogue, wasn’t signed until even later.
Apple wasn’t able to be reached for comment regarding this matter, but speaking to 9to5Mac on Friday, a representative from Sony/ATV said that they had no knowledge of any legal issues between them and Apple that would stop The Beatles from appearing on iTunes Radio. At the time, the collection was still absent from the service.
Several competitive radio apps have been continuing to add new features and content in the lead up to Apple’s iTunes Radio launch. The latest comes from Rdio with the company announcing today plans to bring new content and a free, ad-supported service through a deal with Cumulus Media.
Apple is now featuring The Beatles Radio in iTunes Radio: