Beatles fans everywhere rejoice! The band’s catalog is finally being released in mp3 form, but don’t go running to iTunes. Record company EMI is releasing the entire catalog of 14 albums on a special edition 16GB USB drive. The drive, which is shiny green and shaped like an apple, will set fans back a whopping $330 and only 30,000 were initially offered for sale. Pre-orders are already being taken, and it will be officially released on December 8th. Along with the remastered tracks are rare photos, liner notes and 13 mini documentaries. It promises to be a real Christmas treat for any Beatles fans with the spare cash to spend or who have a generous friend or relative willing to play Santa.
Does this mean we’re closer to seeing the band on iTunes? EMI isn’t saying. So far it has refused to let any retailer sell the band’s music digitally. Of course that hasn’t stopped BlueBeat.com from selling the entire catalog. The site offered individual Beatles tracks for .25 cents each and full albums for around $3.25. When confronted by EMI the site insisted they weren’t doing anything wrong because their offerings are recreations using a process called “psychoacoustic simulation”. Um yeah. The site ignored EMI’s cease and desist action and refused to stop selling the tracks until they were slapped with a lawsuit and restraining order. Whether they thought they could get away with such blatant theft by shrouding it in technical mumbo jumbo or actually believe their copyright infringement is perfectly okay remains to be seen.
If you want one of the Beatles USBs act fast. EMI says demand has been so overwhelming that they are trying to acquire an additional supply above and over the 30,000 they initially planned to sell.