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The Beatles offer catalog on USB drive without DRM

updated 08:40 am EST, Wed November 4, 2009

Beatles edge closer to pure digital sales

The Beatles on Wednesday surprised the music industry by offering their collection outside of a disc for the first time. The Limited Edition USB Stick carries the entire LP collection of the British band in a stereo mix along with the mini-documentaries, album art and liner notes from the remastered CDs. Significantly, all of the songs come both in unprotected 320Kbps MP3 as well as in a similarly unguarded, lossless FLAC and should work on most any computer or portable player.

The 16GB, Apple Records-themed drive is for now only being sold in a 30,000-copy run and will ship December 8th for $280. Pre-orders start today.

While limited, the move is a milestone for The Beatles and signals a move a step closer to online sales for the band. While Sir Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono and the rest of those directly involved with the group have been in favor of a release through iTunes and other online music stores, the remastering process and licensing have together pushed back plans for Internet sales. The release of The Beatles: Rock Band, including the recent addition of Abbey Road as downloadable content for the game, is widely considered the first step.

by MacNN Staff



  1. DanielSw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wow! Nice surprise!

    Seems like a clever way to distribute and good timing for the holidays.

    Hope they follow up with an iTunes deal.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I simply don't care

    I lived through half of the 60s and the Beatles just don't do it for me. Why are they still popular?

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Each to his own

    Music is personal - asking us to explain why you don't like something is like asking what a fish is thinking at any given second.

  1. noverflow

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Food. The fish is thinking about food.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Because. . .

    . . . they still are? I've never seen the appeal of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Radiohead or U2, but I can understand why they are popular.

    There's also no denying that they were hugely influential - even if they were beaten to or borrowed most of their innovations, it was the Beatles who popularized them.

    They're a bit like Apple in that respect - there were earlier GUI systems, there were earlier touchscreen devices, but they weren't game changers.

    (That said, I do find the continued obsession with the Beatles as the pinnacle of popular music a bit boring).

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    while I adore The Beatles (but I sure won't be dropping $280 for this USBeatles collection), it's pretty much a boomer thing. About 20 more years before we finally start getting rid of that generation and then we can quit hearing all the fawning over the 60s and Woodstock and Vietnam protests and so on.

    I had a college prof who organized a substantial amount of his course around talking about the Beatles as a media phenomenon. This was during the mid-80s when college students like myself were in full backlash mode against the rock dinosaurs, including Led Zep and the Beatles.

    Just be glad you didn't have that prof! Trust me, we all thought he was LAME

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    another 50 years

    and they (certainly not "we") won't have to listen to those who don't want to listen to any type of fawning about the 60's.
    my bet is the beatles will be listened to, very much like mozart is still listened to, for centuries to come.

    the 60's were historical, no amount of disdain will change that in the history books. they won't leave it out because it was simply fawned over too much.

    you know, the bigger picture...

  1. zaghahzag

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i think this is huge

    The face is that with MP3s the ability for a band to sell all its work at once has never been easier. While the price of this USB stick is high, how awesome is it to be able to legally own everything they've ever done with high quality and no DRM to boot.

    Even with a DVD, you could put what? 30 compressed albums on there? The music industry has been eating its own foot for so long, maybe this will give them an idea.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Are they shipping one without the compilations and MMT?
    I hope this means piecemeal will be next.
    Jules, thank God all older music disliked by some is gone, eh?
    That piker Ludwig von what's-his-name is hopefully forgotten soon.

    Pssst. If it weren't for the Beatles and Led Zep and a slew of others, most of the bands in the 80s and through today wouldn't know where to start.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969



    John Lennon was shot on 12/8/1980.

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