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The Beatles Legacy in the Digital Age (and 10 Beatles iTunes Every iPod Should Have)

A short time ago, Beatles-maniac and Apple Computer CEO, Steve Jobs brought the Apple Records music catalog to iTunes. This included 15 albums by artists signed and recorded by The Beatles in the late 1960s and 70s, hitmakers like Badfinger and James Taylor – sadly, none of those 15 albums included anything by The Beatles. Possibly the greatest rock and roll band ever, The Beatles have been slow to jump on board the technology express. Now Apple and The Beatles have proudly revealed to the world the Fab Four have embraced digital music downloads and are now on iTunes. As a new audience is preparing to rediscover The Beatles all over again, let’s look back on the long and winding road…

The Beatles make an appearance in the animated classic Yellow Submarine, the movie is getting a computer generated 3D makeover courtesy of Walt Disney Studios and their music is now available on iTunes.

Apple VS. Apple

London has been the home of Apple since 1968. That’s when John Lennon and Paul McCartney founded The Beatles Apple Corps – a forward thinking technology company that would produce and distribute films, music, electronic experiences and more. But they were talking about their newly formed corporation Apple Corps, not Apple Computer. And this was way back in 1968, ten years before Apple Computer would even be formed. Talk about visionary…

Home to Apple Corps, this unassuming building and its rooftop also played host to The Beatles last live concert together, Let It Be.

Apple Corps has been suing Apple Computer since 1978. That’s when the Apple Corps claimed the then two-year old computer company was infringing on the Beatles trademark and logo of Apple Corps. That lawsuit was eventually settled in 1981 and in addition to paying Apple Corps a large, undisclosed sum, Apple Computer agreed it wouldn’t enter the music business.

Peace between the two companies lasted a few years. In the 80′s Apple added a unique feature to its new computers – MIDI, enabling Mac users to control musical devices like synthesizers – which prompted another lawsuit from the Beatles Apple Corps. Less than half a year later in 1991, Apple Computer settled again with Apple Corps, paying out an estimated $29 million.

All seemed fine until April 2003 when Apple Computer opened something called the iTunes Music Store and Apple Corps again sued the computer maker, pointing the High Court of London to the 1991 settlement. After a week-long trial in 2006 the claims against Apple Computer were dismissed and finally, in 2007, both sides came to terms and settled the matter for good – for another undisclosed sum.

Technology and The Beatles

The Beatles, were always on the cutting-edge of music. In the 60s and 70s they were pioneering recording techniques still used today and refining their signature sound. However, they’ve been notoriously behind the times when it has come to technology. They were one of the last great rock bands to embrace the Compact Disc or CD, waiting until 1987 to release their music on a format that had been introduced five years before.

The Beatles computer generated versions as they appear in Rock Band.

More recently, a critically acclaimed interactive media spectacle in Las Vegas called Love and video game, The Beatles: Rock Band helped put the Fab Four back into media spotlight and on the cutting edge. So have the Beatles finally embraced the digital age? It certainly seems so. Especially considering a computer generated 3D remake of their cult classic Yellow Submarine is currently in development at Disney and that Apple Corps just buried a 30-year old hatchet with the world’s biggest online music retailer, Apple Computer.

Beatles iTunes and Beyond
Apple and the Beatles Apple Corps have finally “come together,” as John Lennon once sung, to announce the release of The Beatles catalog on iTunes. The announcement brings Apple fanboy rumors and 30 years of legal wrangling to an end as more than 200 Beatles songs recorded from 1962-1970 are finally available as digital downloads from iTunes. It’s an accomplishment that fills what many agree was a considerable hole in the world’s largest music seller’s record collection.

Starting today, the band’s 13 legendary remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs, the two-volume “Past Masters” compilation and the classic “Red” and “Blue” collections are available for purchase and download on iTunes worldwide as either albums or individual songs. Double Albums sell for $19.99 and single downloads are $1.29.

Fans can also get a special digital “Beatles Box Set” featuring the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964″ concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert. Plus, free of charge, Beatles fans can stream and view the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964″ concert film from iTunes for the remainder of this calendar year.

John Lennon’s vision of blending music and technology live on today and not only on iTunes. The Lennon Bus is production studio on wheels and it travels the United States teaching teens and young adults about music and video production. Digital Media Academy, the leader in teen summer technology camps has partnered with The Lennon Bus to deliver Come Together: Music & Video Production, an interactive music and media summer camp experience unlike any other to Digital Media Academy’s Summer Camp programs. DMA, like the Beatles understand the importance of image and sound. DMA also has courses that will teach you how to become a music producer or launch a career in film.

The Beatles and their vision do live on, in fact it’s brighter than ever. Be sure to head over to iTunes and download…

10 Beatles iTunes Every iPod Should Have

10. Come Together. The last song all four Beatles recorded in a studio together was originally a campaign song for 60s activist Timothy Leary when he was running for the Governor of California.

9. While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Beatle George Harrison enlisted the help of Eric Clapton to finish the recording.

Something, from the often imitated Abbey Road album.

8. Something. Another Harrison song, John Lennon called it simply, “the best thing George ever wrote.”

7. Let It Be. A month after it was released in 1970, Paul McCartney announced the Beatles were no more.

6. Hey Jude. McCartney’s ode to John Lennon’s son, Jullian.

5. Yesterday. The most covered song by any band, ever, started as a dream for McCartney. And it was originally called “Scrambled Eggs.”

4. I Wanna Hold Your Hand. The song introduced The Beatles to America.

3. Penny Lane. Want to experience the Beatles hometown of Liverpool? This song is named after a street in the small town and will whisk you back to England in a heartbeat.

2. Paperback Writer. The driving bass is Paul McCartney and his signature Rickenbacker, the record is all Beatles.

1. A Day In The Life. A 40-piece orchestra helps bring the 1967 album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band to a powerful end.

Sgt. Pepper revolutionized the concept album.

What’s your favorite Beatles song? Do you think you have what it takes to be a music producer?


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