The Beatles to Finally Release Songs for Streaming

Top music streaming services will add the Beatles catalog Thursday, reflecting the format’s passage from niche to the norm

The Beatles during their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964
Getty Images

Talk about “Fixing a Hole.”

The Beatles catalog of music will be available to stream on nine major streaming music services starting Thursday, including Spotify and Apple Music, a format the group long resisted.

Scoring the Beatles catalog is a signal of streaming music becoming a consumer norm that a legacy artists like the Beatles can ignore only at their own risk.  The format was on track to eclipse digital downloads as the recording industry’s primary source of revenue, based on sales figures from the Recording Industry Association of America.

A post on the official Beatles website said the band’s songs would be available to stream on Spotify, the world’s biggest subscription music service by listeners, as well as Apple Music, Deezer (a service popular in Europe), Amazon Prime Music, Google Play Music, Rhapsody and its international brand Napster, Slacker Radio, Microsoft Groove and Jay Z’s Tidal.

The Beatles are known for being digital holdouts. The group’s representatives waited until 2010, nearly a decade after the introduction of Apple’s iPod popularized digital music files, to start selling digital downloads of Beatles tunes. Until this week, the group had resisted granting licenses to stream its catalog to any service that needed its permission to play them.

Pandora, the webcaster that has long been the biggest source of online music by listeners, is the notable exception: Because it eschewed direct deals with rights holders in favor of a compulsory licenses made possible through an act of US Congress, Pandora has been able to stream music from any artist, including the Beatles, for years.