When Apple Music launched back in June, it was noted that the music subscription service didn’t offer up the entire iTunes catalog with a few big name artists missing including The Beatles. That could be about to change, according to a new report out of Billboard, which cites sources that claim The Beatles music will be available for streaming for the first time next week. While the report believes The Beatles music will start streaming on Christmas Eve, what isn’t clear is which streaming service will have access first …
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Billboard says word was in 2014 that Apple Records was considering a six-month exclusive with one streaming music service, but that obviously hasn’t happened yet. Then in January, Rob Wells, head of Universal Music Group’s digital business at the time and now exec at Crowdmix, continued talks to get The Beatles onto streaming with the report saying a deal was put together in mid-September. Apple Music’s initial free trial period for early adopters ended around the same time.
Apple entered the streaming music business itself for the first time in 2014 with its acquisition of Beats Music. Then in June it unveiled its successor, Apple Music, which launched at the end of that month. While it’s possible Spotify or some other streaming competitor could be set to exclusively carry The Beatles next week, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Apple to bring The Beatles to a new medium.
The Beatles catalog was first available digitally in 2010 exclusively through iTunes for a while, which was a major deal for Apple at the time with 2 million tracks sold within days. Bringing all or most of that catalog to Apple Music would be an equally big win for the growing streaming service.
Similarly, AC/DC resisted digital music sales until coming to iTunes in 2012 then later Apple Music at its launch. As for exclusives, Apple Music has had its fair share with Taylor Swift’s 1989 album being available solely on the streaming service after a public back and forth between the pop star and Apple over free trial terms. And starting Sunday, Apple Music will exclusively carry Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour film.
Finally, earlier this month The Beatles 1+ collection of 50 restored videos came exclusively to iTunes. Could The Beatles catalog on Apple Music be next? Apple hyped the announcement in 2010 as ‘A day you’ll never forget’, so should we expect another similar occasion next week? Looks like we should know something by Thursday so stay tuned.