Here, there and everywhere: Beatles songs to be streamed for first time

Fab Four’s full catalogue will make Christmas Eve debut on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Prime, ending long streaming site holdout

As a band, the Beatles were famed for their adoption of new recording technology, everything from tape-looped studio effects to double-tracked vocals. But in more recent years their songs have been absent from that most modern of ways to consume music: streaming websites. Until now, that is.

From Christmas Eve the full Beatles catalogue will become available on nine separate music streaming sites, including Spotify, Google Play and Amazon Prime. It will even be on Apple Music, eight years after the end of a long and brutal legal battle between the technology company and the Beatles’ Apple record label over the use of the Apple logo in the music business.

It will all happen at 12.01am local time “here, there and everywhere”, according to a heavily Beatles song-referencing statement on the band’s official website, which ends: “Happy Crimble, with love from us to you.”

The world’s most celebrated popular music group had long left a conspicuous gap in the offerings of streaming sites, which have become increasingly mainstream despite some acts’ concerns over royalties and other issues.

Last year, Taylor Swift removed her music from Spotify, though her catalogue remains available to stream on Apple Music. In June this year, Australian rock behemoth AC/DC finally abandoned their no-streaming stance.

Beatles songs were initially also absent from Apple’s pay-to-own music site, iTunes, but appeared five years ago, after negotiations described by this newspaper, inevitably, as a “a long and winding download”. Solo material from Beatles members has previously been available on streaming sites.

December 24 at 12:01am local time, The Beatles’ music is available for streaming worldwide:

— The Beatles (@thebeatles) December 23, 2015

From midnight the Beatles’ 13 remastered studio albums and four compilation albums will be available to users of the free, advert-financed users of Spotify, as well as its claimed 20 million paying subscribers. Along with Apple Music, which has 15 million users, Google Play and Amazon Prime, the songs will be also be on Slacker, Tidal, Groove, Rhapsody and Deezer.

Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for music industry body the BPI, said that the announcement meant “streaming’s journey towards the mainstream will nearly be complete”, and predicted the Beatles would help streaming services sign up more users.

He said: “An increasing number of music consumers are switching to streaming for their day to day needs, while still also buying and collecting their favourite artists on vinyl and CD, so the addition of such iconic albums can only accelerate the dramatic growth of this digital platform.”

There is seemingly huge demand for the band’s music on streaming sites. Nearly 1.1 million people are already following the official Beatles profile on Spotify, and due to a smattering of compilation tracks, the band already has nearly 350,000 monthly listeners. One song, Ain’t She Sweet, has so far been streamed 5.7m times.

The Beatles back catalogue proved popular in 2010 as iTunes downloads, selling more than 450,000 albums and 2m singles in the first week after going live. In the streaming world, their main competition will be younger pop acts. Justin Bieber is currently the most popular artist on Spotify with 31.7 million monthly listeners.


Stuart Dredge and Peter Walker

The GuardianTramp

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