Just two days ahead of general availability of Apple’s iOS 7 mobile operating system that includes the company’s free, ad-supported iTunes Radio service, it would appear Apple has worked out all the kinks with Apple Corps and has finally managed to bring The Beatles music to iTunes Radio. Remember, Apple struck a landmark agreement with Apple Corps to bring The Beatles music downloads to the iTunes Store back in 2010, following a period of legal wrangling between the two companies over licensing and trademark disputes…
Previously, attempting to create a Beatles station on iTunes Radio would not result in a playlist containing the band’s music. As noted by Michael Steeber, as of this past weekend The Beatles are now available on iTunes Radio, just in time for the launch of iOS 7 this Wednesday.
A representative from Sony/ATV “had no knowledge of any legal issues” between them and Apple that would stop The Beatles from appearing on iTunes Radio.
One caveat: you’ve been able to create a Beatles station on iTunes Radio since iOS 7 Beta 1, but it would only play cover artists, related music and the band’s individual releases – never the official Beatles music.
For example, here’s a Beatles cover album that would often play on iTunes Radio.
Would that make iTunes Radio the first streaming service to get The Beatles?
Popular Internet radio stations like Pandora and Slacker Radio have long offered Beatles stations, according to a 2010 story by PCMag.
Nevertheless, not only is this significant because of the sheer popularity of The Beatles and Apple’s credibility in the music industry – it’s the fact that the band had arguably been the longest-running holdout from the iTunes Store so its inclusion in iTunes Radio is the clearest indication yet that the two companies have set aside their differences.
Streaming deals are not covered by existing music licensing contracts and are significantly harder to negotiate in a mutually beneficial manner so kudos to Eddy Cue and his team for scoring this one.
Oh, and The Beatles iTunes Radio deal should help thwart threat from Rdio, which just announced a free, ad-supported streaming music service.