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Beatles join iTunes, while Brooks and AC/DC hold out

By Associated Press


NEW YORK » With the Beatles finally on iTunes, Garth Brooks and AC/DC are among the few notable acts that continue to staunchly hold out, unwilling to agree to Apple's restrictive pricing schemes and loath to see their albums chopped into singles.

Kid Rock and Bob Seger also have refused to cave in, like holed-up gunfighters.

The Beatles have partnered with Apple Inc.'s iTunes service, ending the most prominent holdout and finally bringing one of music's most popular catalogs to the online store.

Yoko Ono invoked John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" in the news of the Beatles finally joining iTunes.

Since iTunes launched in 2001, the music industry almost entirely has gotten on board. For a long time, Led Zeppelin stayed away, but the act finally joined in 2007. Radiohead resisted, too, until 2008.

The ranks of the iTunes holdouts have gradually thinned, but the battle goes on for the remaining resisters.

Brooks, whose songs are among the most popular in country music, said he had no animosity with Apple, but nevertheless disagreed with its approach to selling music.

"They truly think that they're saving music," Brooks told reporters last year. "My hat's off to them. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it."

Brooks, who has a distribution deal with Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s retail and online stores, has complained about iTunes' lack of flexibility in pricing and album sales. Apple last year began selling songs for 69 cents and $1.29 aside from the normal 99 cents, though album-only downloads are still discouraged.


The Beatles' music is finally for sale on Apple Inc.'s iTunes. Single albums cost $12.99 and come with a mini-documentary about its making. Double albums cost $19.99. Here's a look at what's available:

» Please Please Me (1963)
» With the Beatles (1963)
» A Hard Day's Night (1964)
» Beatles for Sale (1964)
» Help! (1965)
» Rubber Soul (1965)
» Revolver (1966)
» Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
» Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
» The Beatles (White Album) (1968)
» Yellow Submarine (1969)
» Abbey Road (1969)
» Let it Be (1970)
» The Beatles 1962-1966 (The Red Album) (released 1973)
» The Beatles 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) (released 1973)
» Past Masters, Vols. 1 and 2 (released 1988)
» The Beatles Box Set (released 2009; $149.99; iTunes version includes video of the band's first U.S. concert in 1964)

Angus Young of AC/DC, another act with an exceptionally lucrative catalog of music, once insisted that AC/DC doesn't make singles, "we make albums."

"If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album," Young told The Daily Telegraph in 2008. "We don't think that represents us musically."

Young has said AC/DC's sales haven't suffered as a result. The band's last studio album, "Black Ice," released in 2008, sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.

Kid Rock, whose new album "Born Free" was released last week, has said he's resistant to the pack mentality and is suspicious of anyone who tells him that he "must" be on iTunes.

"I don't have to," Kid Rock, 39, told Billboard this month. "Because I remember being a kid when I heard a song that I liked, I would jump on the bus, ride to Detroit, get a $2.50 transfer and walk a mile to the hip-hop store to buy the new Eric B. & Rakim record. You're not going to stop people from obtaining what they want if it's available at some level."

Craig Marks, editor of Billboard, said artists holding out "place inordinate value on the album as a cohesive piece of art."

"That's nothing that Apple is going to give on," Marks told The Associated Press. "If that's the emotional reason that they're reluctant to have their music available on iTunes or available as legal downloads, I'm not sure that's going to change."

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