This past summer, Yoko Ono expressed her doubts about The Beatles ever making their iTunes debut. "Don't hold your breath...for anything," Ono told Reuters in August 2010. Music fans collectively exhaled when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the big news on Tuesday, November 16: “We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” said Jobs in an official statement. “It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we’ve had since we launched iTunes ten years ago.” Single albums can be downloaded for $12.99 each, double albums for $19.99 each and individual songs for $1.29 each. 2009's remastered box set can be purchased for $149.
Not surprisingly, iTunes racked up initially strong sales. As of November 17, 28 of the top 100 tunes are by The Beatles, they also make up 16 of the top 50 albums, including four in the top 10: Abbey Road, The Beatles (White Album), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and The Beatles Box Set. Interestingly the highest ranking Beatles song is the George Harrison-penned "Here Comes the Sun" at number 19. Both Apple Inc. and Apple Corps Ltd. must welcome these figures, as they were embroiled in a protracted battle to reach this point.
Apple and The Beatles' corporation, Apple Corps Ltd., have waged war over copyright issues for years. According to the Chicago Tribune, Apple Corps asserted that Apple Computers (later Apple Inc.) infringed upon the Beatles' company's trademark. In 1981, the two parties settled, with the agreement that Apple Inc. would never enter the music business. However, Apple Corps sued Apple Inc. again in 2003, arguing that iTunes violated the previous agreement. Once more, the two companies reached a settlement in 2007, but disagreements over pricing kept the Beatles off iTunes for an additional three years. If they did not wish to purchase CDs, fans resorted to downloading songs and albums illegally, and they posted frequent, often frustrated comments on iTunes asking them why The Beatles were still unavailable digitally. After briefly considering establishing their own online store, the surviving Beatles and their families obviously decided that "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."