The Beatles are finally releasing official digital files of all of their studio albums, while also suing a company for selling illegal ones.
From the “I can’t believe it took this long to happen!” files, EMI Records is suing BlueBeat for selling unlicensed MP3s of The Beatles albums.
Last Saturday we brought you a story of an unknown site called BlueBeat selling copies of the famously unavailable digital versions of The Beatles catalog. These albums have long been desired as digital downloads, but the remaining band members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, have not given their blessing to this happening. When BlueBeat not only started selling them without any fanfare, and for the insanely low price of 25 cents per song, something smelled fishy.
Sure enough, Wired is now reporting that EMI has files a lawsuit (PDF link) in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday. I had actually predicted this would happen on Monday, but I was only off by 24 hours.
In the meantime, The Beatles albums are indeed finally getting an official digital release … on a limited edition USB drive. The official Web site of the band has announced a limited edition USB drive inside of an apple (remember, that was name of their original record label) that will contain all 14 albums in FLAC 44.1 Khz 24 bit and MP3 320 Kbps formats, fully compatible with PC and Mac., plus some rare video footage, replicated original U.K. album art, rare photos and expanded liner notes. The set is limited to 30,000 and will sell for £200.00, or about $280.00 USD. You can get the set on Dec. 7 in the U.K., and on Dec. 8 in the USA.
Why in the world the band is going with a physical delivery system is beyond us, and you know that these files will end up on BitTorrent sites in a matter of hours no matter what sort of security they put on them, so why not sell them legally for download? This may end up being one of the biggest mysteries of the digital age at this rate.