The Beatles’ Music Catalog of Songs Going Digital to Alllow for Legal Downloads

For the better part of half a decade since iTunes popularized by-the-song digital music sales, the works Beatles have been sorely excluded – and therefore frequently bootlegged on black-sheep sites such as grokster and eDonkey.

But no longer. In fact, not anymore would be more like it.

Apple Corps, the fab four’s recorded music trustee which manages the bulk of the collective works of one of the greatest acts of the British invasion, will soon go digital. And not just in downloaded legal music sales, but in their master recordings. This could be a majopr blessing for fans who previously had to rip from CD – or defy the RIAA – just to get their Beatles fix.

Of course, the date for broad availability is shaky at best as nothing for all the major sites – iTunes included – is set in stone, though I can say that some selections appear to have surfaced on Microsoft’s MSN Music as what could be part of the rollout. What is known at this point is that the digital download sales of the Beatles’ works is more in sync with the remastering of the collection to give the music a sound that is more like it sounded on the first day back in the day on the old analog recording mechanisms that were much more common place those days (if you will pardon the pun). As former Beatles’ road manager Neil Aspinall explains, “I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters. It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get the publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than doing it ad hoc.”

It’s also worth noting that the Beatles’ have been slow to catch up with the Joneses in the past, even when John Lennon and/or George Harrison were likely to still be alive as new technologies changed the distribution of recorded music, when compact discs began to replace vinyl records and later audiocasettes as the nom du jour of recorded music distribution. And even music downloads are a scizophrenic issue for Apple Corps, as the trustee has already sued Apple Computer for using its own apple logo to sell music downloads, creating a tricky issue for the trustee as the two companies had agreed in court proceedings not to encroach on each others’ territory (for the record, that dispute may come down to trademarks and logos as Apple Corps has a Granny Smith apple for its calling card while Apple Computer uses what is best described as “an apple with a bite missing from one side,” as Sci-Tech-Today puts it). So maybe the recorded music trustee’s decision to digitize the fab four’s works for re-release on disc and online will more than make up for the dispute between media group and technology company.

And maybe then, knowing that this talented gorup is now going digital on a legal basis, Beatles fans can finally rest easy.

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