updated 03:40 pm EST, Tue November 23, 2010
Beatles hit 2 million songs in iTunes debut
(Update: more data) The Beatles's first appearance on a digital store has managed a dramatic resurgence in sales, data from Apple said. About two million individual tracks and 450,000 albums were sold on iTunes in the first week. Information collected by Billboard gave 1969's Abbey Road the lead, both as the top-selling album and for "Here Comes the Sun" as the top-selling song.
Other albums from the group are known to have infiltrated both the top 10 and the top 100, led mostly by compilations like the Box Set, 1962-1966 and 1967-1970.
Update: The US accounted for 119,000 album sales and 1.4 million individual songs. About 13,000 of the $149 Box Set moved in the country but only counted as one album each. No other individual artist is believed to have had as many song sales on iTunes in a new-to-digital release, as Eminem's "Not Afraid" was next-closest at 379,000 in its first week; Led Zeppelin managed 300,000. In 2010, the best week of whole album sales for an artist was Taylor Swift's 278,000 copies of Speak Now.
Critics had raised concerns about the likely success of the Beatles on iTunes, since earlier CD rips and the 2009 remasters left many already owning one or more albums that they could have since ripped to digital. The results instead suggested that many had either been unwilling to go for physical copies or that a newer generation of listeners hadn't been exposed to the band before.
The sales could be a wound to Amazon MP3, Zune Marketplace and other stores that have lost out with Apple's exclusive into 2011. Most music buyers tend to remain loyal to individual stores, but those not attached may now have much less reason to buy from another store.
Apple is rumored by Billboard to be starting up its ad campaign in earnest for the Beatles on Black Friday, including both print ads in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal as well as a wider-reaching TV commercial run.