On Wednesday morning The Beatles’ official websites announced that their music would finally, belatedly be coming to streaming services, something that seemed like it might never happen. (Right now, the second google auto fill result for “Will The Beatles ever...” is “be on Spotify.” The first is “get back together,” which is something that’s been petty hard—some would say impossible—for the past three-and-a-half decades.) But starting on Christmas Eve, all of the (gloriously) remastered versions of The Beatles canonical, British LPs, plus four compilations will be available to stream. (The Beatles Anthology won’t be available, but it mostly isn’t very good anyway.)
As Gizmodo points out, “This is somewhat of a watershed moment for music streaming. The Beatles have been notoriously slow to appear on new music services—it took years for them to make it to iTunes, for instance.” Why the band decided to make this change is another matter. The Beatles are one of a handful of artists, legacy or otherwise, who don’t really need streaming—their albums still move and they make boatloads of money on remasters. It could just be that we’re between remasters right now—2009, when the last batch came out, is a long time ago and the band is famously slow to reevaluate its work. Speaking to Fast Company, Giles Martin (George Martin’s son) said it was about reaching a new generation: “The Beatles needed to be on all streaming services if they were to reach out to a new generation of music fans.”
I haven’t seen anything about the economics of the deal yet—Spotify’s terms are notoriously not super great for artists who aren’t The Beatles—and will update this post if anything emerges.