While streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify had managed to include most popular artists in their catalogue, one name was missing from them — The Beatles. The British rock band, arguably one of the key influencers of pop music through the 1960s and thereafter, has however announced quite the Christmas gift for fans on Wednesday: Ending their boycott of streaming music online. You can now finally listen to the band without having to pay for each song.
The Beatles’ full catalogue is available on nine major services including Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music, removing the most glaring absence from the booming sector that allows unlimited on-demand music online.
The official website of The Beatles announced the move in a short video that featured a medley of the band’s hits including ‘Let It Be’, ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Help!’
“Happy Crimble, with love from us to you,” reads the site, employing a slang term for Christmas used by The Beatles.
The catalogue, which is already streaming in India, will go live at 12:01 am on December 24 local time across the world.
Ringo Starr, the only other surviving band member aside from Paul McCartney, broke the news on Twitter with a slew of emojis, a means of expression more in line with a younger generation.
“We are coming to you from out of the blue,” Starr wrote, adding, “Peace and love peace love.”
Avoiding the big fish so far
The Beatles were the top-selling and one of the most critically acclaimed groups of all time, releasing 13 studio albums including classics such as ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Revolver’ before breaking up in 1970. They have so far sold about 600 million albums worldwide.
However despite their ensuing phenomenal success, the band repeatedly took a slow approach to new technology.
The streaming announcement came only five years after the Liverpool-born group’s back catalogue was first made available for purchase on Apple’s iTunes.
The band’s recordings are controlled by its own management company, Apple Corps, and music conglomerate Universal which took over the catalogue from defunct label EMI.
The new streaming change will mean you can listen to the band’s hits on Spotify, Apple Music, Slacker, Tidal, Groove, Rhapsody, Deezer, Google Play and Amazon Prime.
The Beatles already appear on Internet radio provider Pandora and satellite radio service Sirius XM which have different regulations.
Few other streaming holdouts
The move is a major win for streaming companies which have faced criticism from a string of artists over the amount of money they make.
Taylor Swift made news when she removed her whole back catalogue from Spotify last year. However, she put her blockbuster album 1989 on Apple Music when it launched in June. Swift also released a film of her latest tour exclusively on Apple Music.
Adele, whose new album 25 is currently the fastest-selling record in the United States and Britain, has not released her music to any streaming services.
The British singer, in a recent interview with Time magazine, said she did not use streaming herself and considered it “a bit disposable.”
Some big names still maintain full or partial boycotts of streaming sites including folk rockers Neil Young and Bob Seger, Radiohead’s experimental frontman Thom Yorke and country star Garth Brooks.
Others like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, who initially resisted streaming, finally relented.
Rapper mogul Jay Z’s Tidal service is trying to break the old guard by heavily promoting unique content. Tidal made gains when they uploaded the full catalogue of Prince. Now, both Tidal and Rhapsody have announced that they plan interactive features to go with The Beatles’ music.