Beatles Streaming Rundown

The Beatles Set to Stream on Christmas Eve: Sources A "happy crimble" from the mop tops.

Billboard
12/18/2015

by Andrew Flanagan

The Beatles, the most beloved rock band in history -- and one of the most persistent holdouts in the digital age of music listening -- are set to finally arrive on streaming services, according to Billboard sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

While Billboard has received conflicting reports on the timing of the Fab Four's arrival to streaming platforms, there's a strong indication that fans will be able to hear "Hey Jude" on Thursday, Dec. 24. (Keep an eye out for whether Liverpool's most famous sons unseat Justin Bieber's streaming record.)

Chatter around a six month "exclusive" for a known streaming service reportedly began to trickle out of Apple Records in 2014, according to one source, but fizzled out. This past January, former Universal Music Group digital executive Rob Wells restarted discussions for the massive get, with papers reportedly having been signed in mid-September. It's unknown which specific services have secured the deal, though sources strongly suggest that most, if not all, will have access to the band's catalog of studio albums next week. (The Beatles are already available on Pandora because of how "non-demand" web radio is licensed.)

When asked, a Spotify representative said the company "would not comment on that." Rhapsody also refused to comment. Apple, Tidal, Deezer and Slacker did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Beatles as an entity has been notoriously slow in adopting and adapting to new technology -- it took the band six years to arrive on the iTunes Store, selling two million songs during its first week. The group took 25 years, since its breakup in 1970, to issue the comprehensive Anthology documentary. It didn't get involved with video games until The Beatles: Rock Band was released in 2009. The Beatles music was released on CD in 1987, but the band didn't remaster their work until 22 years later.

The group joins the streaming revolution just as music consumption on such platforms has begun to officially overtake downloads in revenue generation for major labels. They've sold 178 million albums in the U.S., according to the RIAA.

It's not as though the group needs the exposure. Since the arrival of Beatlemania, the band has maintained a constant presence around the world through members' solo work -- Paul McCartney appeared on two Kanye West songs this year, "FourFiveSeconds" and "Only You" -- reissues like the 2009 The Beatles in Mono box set and tributes from seemingly every musical artist in history (Kurt Cobain, perhaps most infamously), much of it fueled by a perpetual cycle of rediscovery of the group's work by younger listeners.

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The Beatles Confirm Their Catalog Will Hit Streaming Services
For the First Time on 12/24/15

Billboard
12/23/2015

by Natalie Weiner

The long and winding road to streaming your favorite Beatles songs is almost over -- the band announced earlier today that their entire back catalog will be available across platforms starting tomorrow (Dec. 24) at 12:01 a.m, rumors first reported by Billboard.

The group's long holdout from streaming mirror their belated arrival to the world of downloads, via an exclusive contract with Apple's iTunes in 2010. There's no such exclusivity in their streaming plan, though: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Slacker, Microsoft's Groove, and Rhapsody (including its Napster service in the UK) will all have access to The Beatles' library of classic songs.

The decision to start streaming comes after a number of high-profile disputes about what the listening medium means for artists, and whether they're fairly compensated. Taylor Swift and Adele both elected to severely limit the availability of their music on streaming sites (in Adele's case, her most recent album 25 isn't available at all), while AC/DC just started streaming their catalog this year.

The Beatles have made an event of their move to modernity, telling fans they can follow along online as the world gets access to their music for the first time, yet again.

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The Beatles' 50 Biggest Billboard Hits

Billboard
12/23/2015

by Billboard Staff

As The Beatles make their debut on streaming services on Dec. 24, what better time to tally up the Fab Four's biggest singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart?

The quartet -- George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr -- made their Billboard chart debut on the Hot 100 dated Jan. 18, 1964 with "I Want To Hold Your Hand." The single would quickly become their first No. 1, sailing to the top on Feb. 1, 1964.

The group racked up a record total of 20 No. 1s, including such classics as "Hey Jude," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Let It Be." The Beatles' impact on the Hot 100 was so huge, in 2015 they were named as the top-performing act in the chart's history.

The Beatles' 50 Biggest Billboard Hits is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.

1. "Hey Jude" (1968) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (9 weeks), Peak Date: 9/28/68
2. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (1963) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (7 weeks), 1/18/64
3. "She Loves You" (1963) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (2 weeks), Peak Date: 1/25/64
4. "Get Back" (1969) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (5 weeks), Peak Date: 5/10/69
5. "Let It Be" (1970) Hot 100: 1 (2 weeks), Peak Date: 3/21/70
6. "Come Together / Something" (1969) Hot 100 Peak: 1, Peak Date: 10/18/69
7. "Hello Goodbye" (1967) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (3 weeks), Peak Date: 12/2/67
8. "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (2 weeks), Peak Date: 7/18/64
9. "We Can Work It Out" (1965) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (3 weeks), Peak Date: 12/18/65
10. "Can't Buy Me Love" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (5 weeks), Peak Date: 3/28/64
11. "I Feel Fine" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (3 weeks), Peak Date: 12/5/1964
12. "Yesterday" (1965) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (4 weeks), Peak Date: 9/25/1965
13. "Twist and Shout" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 2, Peak Date: 3/14/1964
14. "Help!" (1965) Hot 100 PeaK: 1 (3 Weeks), Peak Date: 8/7/1965
15. "All You Need Is Love" (1967) Hot 100 Peak: 1, Peak Date: 7/22/1967
16. "Love Me Do" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 1, Peak Date: 4/11/1964
17. "Ticket To Ride" (1965) Hot 100 Peak: 1, Peak Date: 4/24/1965
18. "Please Please Me" (1963) Hot 100 Peak: 3, Peak Date: 2/1/1964
19. "Paperback Writer" (1966) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (2 weeks), Peak Date: 6/11/1966
20. "The Long And Winding Road / For You Blue" (1970) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (2 weeks), Peak Date: 5/23/1970
21. "Eight Days A Week" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 1 (2 weeks), Peak Date: 2/20/1965
22. "Lady Madonna" (1968) Hot 100 Peak: 4, Peak Date: 3/23/1968
23. "Got To Get You Into My Life" (1966) Hot 100 Peak: 7, Peak Date: 6/12/1976
24. "Penny Lane" (1967) Hot 100 Peak: 1, Peak Date: 2/25/1967
25. "Yellow Submarine" (1966) Hot 100 Peak: 2, Peak Date: 8/20/1966
26. "Do You Want To Know A Secret" (1963) Hot 100 Peak: 2, Peak Date: 3/28/1964
27. "Nowhere Man" (1966) Hot 100 Peak: 3, Peak Date: 6/5/1966
28. "The Ballad of John and Yoko" (1969) Hot 100 Peak: 8, Peak Date: 6/4/1969
29. "Day Tripper" (1965) Hot 100 Peak: 5, Peak Date: 12/18/1965
30. "Something" (1969) Hot 100 Peak: 3, Peak Date: 10/18/1969
31. "She's A Woman" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 4, Debut Date: 12/5/1964
32. "Revolution" (1968) Hot 100 Peak: 12, Debut Date: 9/14/1968
33. "Strawberry Fields Forever" (1967) Hot 100 Peak: 8, Debut Date: 2/25/1967
34. "P.S. I Love You" (1962, 1964) Hot 100 Peak: 10, Debut Date: 5/9/1964
35. "The Beatles Movie Medley" (1982) Hot 100 Peak: 12, Debut Date: 3/27/1982
36. "I Saw Her Standing There" (1963) Hot 100 Peak: 12, Debut Date: 2/8/1964
37. "And I Love Her" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 12, Debut Date: 7/25/1964
38. "Eleanor Rigby" (1966) Hot 100 Peak: 11, Debut Date: 8/26/1966
39. "Free As A Bird" (1995) Hot 100 Peak: 6, Debut Date: 12/30/1995
40. "Matchbox" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 17, Debut Date: 9/5/1964
41. "Ain't She Sweet" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 19, Debut Date: 7/18/1964
42. "Rain" (1966) Hot 100 Peak: 23, Debut Date: 6/11/1966
43. "I'll Cry Instead" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 25, Debut Date: 8/1/1964
44. "Slow Down" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 25, Debut Date: 9/5/1964
45. "My Bonnie (My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)" (1961) Hot 100 Peak: 26, Debut Date: 2/15/1964
46. "Thank You Girl" (1963) Hot 100 Peak: 35, Debut Date: 4/4/1964
47. "Real Love" (1996) Hot 100 Peak: 11, Debut Date: 3/23/1996
48. "Baby You're A Rich Man" (1967) Hot 100 Peak: 34, Debut Date: 7/29/1967
49. "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" (1964) Hot 100 Peak: 39, Debut Date: 2/20/1965
50. "Act Naturally" (1965) Hot 100 Peak: 47, Debut Date: 9/25/1965

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How The Beatles' Streaming Marks a Turning Point for Digital Music
The Fab Four's decision to embrace streaming has put
Adele and Taylor Swift on the outside looking in.

Billboard
12/23/2015

by Glenn Peoples

As the business of streaming has been either attacked or ignored by some of today's most popular stars, the biggest act of all time has finally embraced the format. It's not an overstatement to say the Beatles will change digital music when the group's music joins at a host of streaming services Thursday. What's more, now it feels like Taylor Swift and Adele are on the outside looking in.

The Fab Four's catalog will be available at Spotify, Apple Music, Rhapsody (and Napster in the United Kingdom), Deezer, Google Play Music, Tidal, Microsoft Groove, Amazon Prime and Slacker. It has already -- and quietly, it seems -- been available at Pandora, SiriusXM Radio and other non-interactive services both online and terrestrial that do not need permission to play a recording.

The question is why?

Financial motivation often leads artists' decisions about streaming services. Swift has boycotted Spotify because she believes the ad-supported service and its unlimited free listening doesn't value music properly. Other artists have sought compensation in return for an exclusive window at a streaming service. But financial reasons seem relatively unimportant in this case. Subscription services could possibly pay the Beatles less than a few syncs in major motion pictures or television commercials in 2016.

Another critical aspect of the Beatles' streaming debut is cultural. Subscription services have reached a tipping point with this announcement. This longtime digital holdout, from a company that aggressively defends that value of its intellectual property (recall the lawsuit against Apple Computer by the Beatles' label, Apple Records), has given its imprimatur to a young, often struggling and -- in the case of Spotify -- criticized business model.

Perhaps they didn't want to feel left out. A source familiar with the negotiations believes the surviving Beatles and the heirs of John Lennon and George Harrison were influenced by the decisions by Led Zeppelin and AC/DC to allow their recordings to be streamed at on-demand services. It's a plausible explanation that captures a human motivation. After all, if two of the greatest rock catalogs were made available, why shouldn't recordings four to five decades old be available to hundreds of millions of listeners around the world?

The Beatles' timing is better this time around. The group's music was arguably kept off download stores too long. Its exclusive launch at iTunes started in November 2010, only two years before the overall peak of download sales the United States. Now the Beatles are joining subscription services that are still in their early stages. They'll be involved in the growth of these companies. They'll be in listeners' playlists, and these services' own playlists, just as the playlist becomes the hard currency of the streaming era.

The timing is also good for streaming services. Outside of a Beatles new item, how else are Tidal, Rhapsody, Google Play Music and others (not named Spotify or Apple Music) going to be mentioned everywhere from global and national news outlets to local drive time radio news broadcasts? And just days before new mobile devices will be unwrapped? Awareness of subscription services must increase for subscription services to reach the mainstream. The Beatles bring awareness.

Of course, old catalogs are different than new catalogs. A new artist may view streaming royalties differently than an artist who generates money from an old catalog. About 70 percent of rock streams are catalog tracks, according to Nielsen Music. A developing artist doesn't have a popular catalog that will generate a predictable stream of royalties. Labels and their new artists need royalties sooner than later. Purchases are better than streaming at generating royalties quickly. Adele has hinted at this problem. In explaining her decision to keep 25 off subscription services, she said she buys physical CDs to make up for those that don't.

Young and developing artists will need to figure out how to use subscription services to their advances. Regardless of the size of the royalty being paid, they'll have to work within this new structure. Swift and Adele should be saluted for pushing back at services and representing those artists without a voice. But the number of artists that can afford to reject some or all subscription services could be counted on one hand. Maybe two.

The takeaway here is subscription services have turned a corner -- maybe not financially and maybe not politically, but at least culturally. The Beatles have given subscription services a legitimacy no young artist could offer. Consumers will feel the difference and, if all goes as planned, might pay something for it.

The other holes in streaming services don't carry the same weight as the hole the Beatles had left until Thursday. Led Zeppelin came close. AC/DC was another major holdout. The still resistant Garth Brooks, who started selling downloads just last year, would be a huge addition, although country doesn't travel to other markets as well as the Beatles catalog. As would Tool, who also continues to oppose streaming.

Absent Taylor Swift's catalog and Adele's 25 (although they have the hit single "Hello"), subscription services should ride this momentum. The Beatles gives them a valuable talking point with the middle-aged consumers that are less likely than younger demographics to use subscription services (although they have far more disposable income). They can honestly say, "We have everything you want" -- unless, of course, middle-aged consumers also want a few current pop hits and Swift and Brooks' the country albums. At the very least, they can tell consumers, "We've finally arrived."

Note: This article was updated to include Amazon Prime as one of the subscription services to get the Beatles catalog.

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These Are the Beatles Non-Singles You Should Stream First

by Billboard Staff
12/24/2015

Now that the Beatles are available on all streaming services (Merry Christmas Eve!), there's a lot of music to dig into. If you've got the time, just listen from Meet the Beatles! straight through to Let It Be. Just do it.

But if you only have time for a few tunes, the Billboard staff has some suggestions. You know all their singles, but the songs below were never released as singles in the U.S. -- and every one of them could have been. Listen to these, and share your favorite non-singles in the comments.

Meet the Beatles! (1964)
"Don't Bother Me" - The first song penned by George Harrison to make an appearance on a studio album by the Beatles, "Don't Bother Me" is a catchy -- albeit moody -- introduction to the band's early work. - Tracy Allison

Help! (1965)
"I've Just Seen a Face" - An unusual, uptempo, "I'm on top of the world 'cause I just fell in love and the feeling is mutual" song. And the Jim Sturgess cover doesn't hurt either. - Stephanie Apessos

Rubber Soul (1965)
"Drive My Car" - A perfect fusion of rock and soul, "Drive My Car" is emblematic of the Beatles' constant creative evolution. Originally issued in the U.K. on the group's epic Rubber Soul album, the song was one of four set aside to appear the following year on the Stateside compilation Yesterday and Today. "Drive" is ripe with sexual innuendo, revved up by a guitar and bass track influenced by Otis Redding's "Respect." Simply put, "Drive My Car" is a great song to sing along to at the top of your lungs. - Gail Mitchell

"In My Life" - This is so tough, but I'm going to go with "In My Life." Not as lyrically complex as some of their later work, but a great tune that summarized the friendship part of the Beatles ethos. It's three minutes of straight nostalgia for your past. - Erin Strecker

"Norwegian Wood" - A beautiful and haunting song allegedly about one of John Lennon's affairs, "Norwegian Wood"'s most memorable characteristic is George Harrison's sitar. One listen and you'll know the answer to the question "Isn't it good?" - Denise Warner

"You Won't See Me" - Inspired by a rare moment of real-life romantic vulnerability for McCartney (then-girlfriend Jane Asher wasn't returning Paul's calls), this jangle-pop gem boasts a pop song rarity -- backup singing that sounds as emotionally fraught as the desperate lead vocal. - Joe Lynch

Revolver (1966)
"For No One" - A criminally underrated lament penned by Paul McCartney exploring emotions that anyone who has ever loved and lost knows all too well. - Matt Medved

"Here, There and Everywhere" - Paul McCartney's pen can do no wrong. On this soothing love note from The Beatles' 1966 Revolver LP, the quartet sends a simple yet sweet love note to their leading ladies that begins with the heart-clutching line: "To lead a better life, I need my love to be here." Celine Dion's cover also does the original justice. - Adelle Platon

"Love You To" - The Beatles used their first sitar on Rubber Soul and on the next album Revolver it sounds like they felt ready to get a little crazy with it. I feel like the album closer "Tomorrow Never Knows" gets most of the shine. But this one is maddeningly catchy, while creating some haunting, mesmerizing vibes at the same time. The way it speeds up the time in the outro gets me every time. - Chris Payne

Widely considered to be the first drug-induced song, and possibly the introduction to psychedelic rock, "Tomorrow Never Knows" is the final track off the band's 1966 studio album Revolver. The seagull-like sounds are actually someone laughing. John Lennon's famous far away vocal voice was done after he instructed the recording engineer to "make me sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop." - Leslie Richin

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
"A Day in the Life" - A dark, deranged and epic trip... and an evolutionary light-year-leap from "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." - Lars Brandle

"Fixing a Hole" - Teenage angst-xiety? Problem solved. - Andrew Flanagan

The Beatles a.k.a. The White Album (1968)
"Blackbird" - This spare, haunting song from the band's 1968 double album reflected Paul McCartney's strong feelings about the civil rights movement. He wrote and recorded it on his own and his tender voice and guitar are the centerpiece of the track about overcoming struggle. "Blackbird" is filled with hope and encouragement and still resonates over four decades later. "Take these broken wings and learn to fly/ All your life/ You were only waiting for this moment to arise." - Serena Kappes

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" - Maybe one of the darkest songs in the Beatles' catalog, the distorted guitar line that precedes the droning vocal "I need a fix 'cause I'm goin' down" is iconic, and Lennon's spirited vocals after things return to major keyed optimism are among his most soulful as he really lets loose. - Dan Rys

Abbey Road (1969)
"Here Comes the Sun" - No matter what season it is or what kind of day you're having, this favorite transports you to a magical, carefree summer road trip. - Lindsey Sullivan

"Something" - There's a version I have where it's so much less of a production than the album version. Fewer instruments, fewer people, it's just George and a guitar, maybe a sitar too? It's probably my favorite because it plays like he's recording it while singing it to whoever he wrote it about and that's pretty epic despite being so simple. - Trish Halpin

"Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" - Sort of cheating with this three-song suite from Abbey Road, but all the individual tunes blend together seamlessly to make a single masterpiece. - Katie Atkinson

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The Beatles Are Streaming! A First Time Listener's Guide

Billboard
12/25/2015

by Leslie Richin

You may have heard The Beatles' entire catalog was released to streaming services. So now that you have "The Fab Four" at your fingertips wherever you go, where do you begin?!

Spotify has made it easy to get acquainted with playlists that play off hit songs including "Come Together (well-known hits)" "Twist and Shout (a party playlist)", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (experimental work) and "All You Need Is Love" (love songs of course).

But playlists aside, there is quite a catalog of remastered studio albums to get into.

Class is in session.

- Here are 5 to get you started.

Please Please Me (1963)

Where it all began. Just watch.

Today's Lesson:

The British Invasion delivered the U.S. with what would later become Beatlemania with the band's debut studio album and first single of the same name.

"Do You Want To Know A Secret?" is the first top ten song to feature George Harrison as the lead singer. It peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100.

Homework:

Put on track 14, "Twist And Shout." Do not stop moving until the song ends. But please note, this celebrated song was not written, or originally recorded by The Beatles. Google to find out which band put it on the charts in 1962.

Abbey Road (1969)

Today's Lesson:

Abbey Road is widely considered the best Beatles album ever.

Boasting an album cover with one of the most famous and imitated images in the history of music, the band's 11th studio effort sold four million copies in its first two months of release.

To date, it remains the band's best-selling album and topped the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks.

Homework:

Watch this "Here Comes The Sun" video and listen to "Oh! Darling" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)."

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Today's Lesson:

The Beatles' third studio album, single and movie of the same name helped catapult the band to global superstar status.

In 1965 the band took home the Best New Artist Grammy and received a nod for Song of the Year.

Homework:

Watch the "A Hard Day's Night" video and listen to "And I Love Her" (track 5), which peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100.

Revolver (1966)

Today's Lesson:

The final track on the album, "Tomorrow Never Knows," is widely considered to be the first drug-induced song, and possibly the introduction to psychedelic rock.

The seagull-like sounds are actually someone laughing. John Lennon's famous far away vocal voice was done after he instructed the recording engineer to "make me "sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop."

Homework Assignment:

Watch the "Yellow Submarine" video and listen to "Good Day Sunshine" (track 8).

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Today's Lesson:

"We hope you will enjoy the show." The show being this "masterpiece of British psychedelia" concept album introduced the fictional Sgt. Pepper's Band, which allowed the band to experiment musically like never before.

Homework:

Watch the "A Day In The Life" video* and listen to "With A Little Help From My Friends" (track 2).

* Bonus points to anyone who can name the musician that makes a cameo at 7 seconds in.

Gold Star. You've studied hard. Reward yourself with the hits.

1 (2000)

These are the No. 1 hit singles that your parents went crazy for. Correction, the whole world went crazy for! The compilation of individual hits was released on the 30th anniversary of the band's breakup, and made its own chart history, No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The albums also makes a prestigious list of albums that sold over 1 million copies in one week.

Class dismissed.

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Beatles Material Still Missing From Streaming Services:
Here's What You Need to Know

Billboard
12/25/2015

by Joe Lynch

You can head home, Santa. The Beatles' culture-shifting catalog is finally available on music streaming services (yes, including Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal), so Christmas came early and there's really no need for follow-up presents from you.

Unless, that is, you're capable of getting ALL the Beatles' material on streaming services. Yes, even though the Fab Four's proper U.K. studio album catalog -- plus the odds-and-ends collections Past Masters Vols. I & II -- are now at your fingertips, there's still plenty of Beatles material not on any of the streaming services.

And we're not talking about obvious omissions such as live albums, BBC sessions collections, the Anthology series, Let It Be...Naked or the Cirque du Soleil mashup mix Love. We're rounding up Beatles material that's missing that you might not even know about.

Read on for a rundown.

Mono Albums

The absence of mono editions of Beatles LPs isn't going to concern most people, or most Beatles fans for that matter. The stereo mixes of the U.K. versions of their albums became the default Beatles discography since the onset of the CD era, so it's what most listeners -- even those who had the original mono LPs -- are used to at this point. Regardless, some diehards point to the fact that while the Beatles were typically quite involved with the mono mixing of their albums, their input on the stereo versions of those albums -- including the landmark Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band -- is disputed. To those purists, the mono versions are truer to the Beatles' artistic intentions and therefore preferable.

Still, the Beatles' albums were released in both mono and stereo versions back in the day -- so the stereo versions of every album back to their debut, Please Please Me, are every bit as official as the mono ones.

Should You Care? Probably not, but for completists, it's worth noting that some mono versions -- such as "Don't Pass Me By" and "Helter Skelter" on The Beatles -- are quite different than the more familiar stereo versions. If you're an obsessive, you can read more about the differences at thewhitealbumproject.com .

U.S. Versions of Songs

The history of the Beatles' discography is fairly complicated. Although A Hard Day's Night, Help! and Rubber Soul got U.S. releases (albeit with altered tracklists), Americans were getting entirely different Beatles LPs for most of the group's first few years. And even when Revolver hit -- after which the release schedule of U.S./U.K. Beatles albums matched up -- the tracklist was different on that album. Several U.S.-only albums ( Meet the Beatles!, Something New, Beatles '65 and more) only made it to CD in the 21st century, and sure enough, those albums aren't on any of the streaming services.

Which is fine: the Beatles' U.K. albums are the proper releases they put together as a band, and they are infinitely preferable to the cobbled-together American editions. Still, completists should note that a few of the mixes on the U.S. albums are quite different than the U.K. ones -- "When I Get Home" has a noticeably louder piano in the U.S. mix, for instance (again, this isn't the version the Beatles approved). Aside from U.S. album variations, an early U.S. promo single of "Penny Lane" featured more piccolo trumpet at the song's close. This rare version was available on the vinyl-era Beatles comp Rarities, another collection not currently streaming.

Should You Care? Meet the Beatles! (which was the second U.S. Beatles LP, but more ubiquitous than the first) remains of immense historical importance. So if you need to know how Americans first fell in love with the Fab Four, make a playlist (all the Meet the Beatles! tunes are streaming) and experience the album that way. But for the most part, the absence of U.S. versions just means that bastardized versions aren't available -- and unless you're an obsessive completist, there's no need to add those to your collection.

Christmas Songs

Between 1963 and 1969, members of the Beatles' fan club received vinyl records featuring skits, Christmas songs and even original material from the quartet. Most of these songs are just sketches, but "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" -- a composition credited to all four, but centered on a George Harrison chorus -- is close to a legitimate song. While these are official Beatles releases, they're not exactly considered canon -- and with the exception of the aforementioned tune, none of them ever made it to CD officially.

Should You Care? Yes and no. Yes, because it's a treat to hear John, Paul, George and Ringo delivering off-the-cuff messages to fans and Christmas carols. But in terms of this material being streamed right now, no. While you might question why the Anthology series didn't make it to streaming services, you can't fault anyone for the absence of the Beatles' Christmas records. These obscurities have never received a proper release treatment outside of the initial fan club pressings, and the Beatles, for their part, seemed to regard them dismissively. These need remastering and a proper re-release compilation before they hit Spotify.

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Here Are the Most-Streamed Beatles Songs on Spotify So Far

Billboard
12/26/2015

by Natalie Weiner

The Beatles hit streaming services around the world Thursday (Dec. 24) for the first time in a long-awaited move that was billed as a holiday gift to their fans, and unsurprisingly, listeners were excited -- in the first 2 days of streaming, Beatles songs have been added to over 673,000 playlists on Spotify alone.

Who's been listening to the legendary group so far? The stats suggest that though their heyday came about 50 years ago, 65% of Beatles listeners on Spotify are under the age of 34.

See the top tracks from Spotify's first few days of streaming below -- though there's definitely a focus on the hits, a few more unlikely selections have been popular as well ("Blackbird" and "In My Life" aren't exactly radio hits).

Here are the top 10 Beatles tracks in the U.S.:

1. "Come Together"
2. "Hey Jude"
3. "Here Comes The Sun"
4. "Let It Be"
5. "Twist And Shout"
6. "Blackbird"
7. "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
8. "In My Life"
9. "She Loves You"
10. "Help!"

And here are the top 10 Beatles tracks on Spotify globally:

1. "Come Together"
2. "Let It Be"
3. "Hey Jude"
4. "Love Me Do"
5. "Yesterday"
6. "Here Comes The Sun"
7. "Help!"
8. "All You Need Is Love"
9. "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
10. "Twist And Shout"

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The Beatles' 10 Most Popular Albums on Spotify

Billboard
1/5/2016

by Joe Lynch

After years of speculation, music's biggest Spotify holdout (sorry Taylor Swift) finally joined the premier music streaming service (sorry other music streaming services).

The Beatles have been on Spotify since Dec. 24, 2015, and they're racking up major streaming figures. We've already talked about the most-streamed Beatles songs on Spotify so far (radio staples "Come Together" and "Hey Jude" came out on top), but what about the albums? Which LPs in the Beatles' catalog are people turning to for their Fab Four fix?

Well, those bemoaning the decreasing importance of the album in music can keep whining, because the Beatles' 2000 comp 1 (recently reissued) tops both the global and U.S. Spotify lists (streaming data runs from the Beatles' Spotify debut through Jan. 4). Interestingly, both lists are identical in running order except for Nos. 4 and 5, which are swapped.

After 1 at No. 1, it's clear people are turning to the Beatles' catalog in somewhat reverse chronological order. The latter albums are most popular, with Abbey Road, The Beatles, Let It Be and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band occupying the 2-5 slots (with Pepper higher in the U.S. as compared to the global list). It's worth noting that 1 's dominance might have something to do with the fact that when you reach the Beatles' Spotify artist page, it's the first album listed.

The band's transitional albums Revolver and Rubber Soul -- which saw them expanding the sound and scope of rock while still adhering to familiar pop song structures -- come in at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, while the classic-but-dated Magical Mystery Tour is the eighth-most popular album so far.

Perhaps surprisingly, it's not until Nos. 9 and 10 that we get to any album from the Beatles' early years. Their U.K. debut Please Please Me follows Magical Mystery Tour, with their fifth U.K. album Help! finishing the list.

That means the Beatles' latter period is getting significantly more album love from Spotify listeners -- every album minus the Yellow Submarine soundtrack hits this top 10 list. While it's somewhat surprising that the classic A Hard Day's Night album didn't crack the top 10, no one should be shocked that With the Beatles and Beatles for Sale -- typically regarded as weaker Beatles albums even though they're still classics -- don't make this list.

And while the Past Masters compilations aren't entirely ignored -- "Hey Jude" is the second-most streamed Beatles song on the service thus far -- it seems people are understandably favoring proper Beatles albums before listening to the odds-and-ends collections.

Beatles 10 Most Popular Albums on Spotify -- Globally

1) 1
2) Abbey Road
3) The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album)
4) Let It Be
5) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
6) Revolver
7) Rubber Soul
8) Magical Mystery Tour
9) Please Please Me
10) Help!

Beatles 10 Most Popular Albums on Spotify -- U.S. Only

1) 1
2) Abbey Road
3) The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album)
4) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
5) Let It Be
6) Revolver
7) Rubber Soul
8) Magical Mystery Tour
9) Please Please Me
10) Help!

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The Beatles on Google Play Music: See the Most Popular Songs
in U.S. & Globally

Billboard
1/6/2016

by Joe Lynch

Something that for years was regarded as impossible happened on Christmas Eve 2015. No, we didn't finally get peace on earth, but as a consolation prize, we did get "All You Need Is Love" (and nearly every other official Beatles song) on music streaming services worldwide.

The Beatles were a big get for music streaming, which now (as a whole) generates literally trillions of plays a year and has become the go-to mode of consumption for a healthy portion of young music listeners.

With new generations discovering the Fab Four, longtime fans revisiting them and some middle-aged listeners entering the music streaming realm for the first time because of the world's greatest rock band, we're taking a look at which Beatles songs are most popular on various streaming services. We've already rounded up Spotify's most popular songs and albums, and today, we're exclusively announcing the most popular Beatles songs on Google Play Music (data taken from the Beatles' streaming debut through Dec. 27, 2015).

As you can peruse in separate top 10 lists below, these are the most popular songs on Play Music's free radio service (where users choose which Beatles songs they listen to by skipping songs) as well as on the Play Music subscription service, where listeners have full control over which tracks they listen to.

The radio top 10 list skews toward the Beatles' earlier material, while the subscription favorites list is more career-comprehensive -- and topped by two songs from the Beatles' final album, Abbey Road (neither of which made the radio top 10). Only two songs from the top 10 subscription songs list even appear on the radio top 10.

In addition to the radio and subscription lists for Play Music in the U.S., we're also sharing the top 10 songs for Play Music subscribers in Great Britain and Canada, as well as the top 10 for Play Music radio listeners in Canada.

Across these lists, most of the favored tracks are Lennon/McCartney compositions, but two George Harrison numbers pop up on these lists ("Something" and "Here Comes the Sun") in addition to two covers -- "Twist and Shout" (first a hit for the Isley Brothers) and Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally."

See which Beatles tracks are connecting most with listeners on Google Play Music below (Note: Classic radio staple "Come Together" also topped Spotify's list of most popular Beatles songs).

Top 10 Global (Radio and Subscription)

1. Come Together
2. I Want To Hold Your Hand
3. Here Comes The Sun
4. In My Life
5. Twist And Shout
6. All You Need Is Love
7. Something
8. Ticket To Ride
9. She Loves You
10. Let It Be

Top 10 U.S. Subscription

1. Come Together
2. Here Comes The Sun
3. In My Life
4. All You Need Is Love
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand
6. Something
7. Twist And Shout
8. Can't Buy Me Love
9. Let It Be
10. From Me To You

Top 10 U.S. Free Radio

1. Twist And Shout
2. Ticket To Ride
3. A Hard Day's Night
4. I Saw Her Standing There
5. Revolution
6. Help!
7. I Feel Fine
8. I Want To Hold Your Hand
9. Hello, Goodbye
10. Long Tall Sally

Top 10 Great Britain Subscription

1. I Want To Hold Your Hand
2. Come Together
3. Here Comes The Sun
4. In My Life
5. All You Need Is Love
6. She Loves You
7. From Me To You
8. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
9. Something
10. Twist And Shout

Top 10 Canada Subscription

1. Come Together
2. I Want To Hold Your Hand
3. Here Comes The Sun
4. Let It Be
5. Can't Buy Me Love
6. Something
7. Twist And Shout
8. All You Need Is Love
9. From Me To You
10. In My Life

Top 10 Canada Free Radio

1. Twist And Shout
2. Ticket To Ride
3. A Hard Day's Night
4. I Saw Her Standing There
5. Revolution
6. Help!
7. I Feel Fine
8. I Want To Hold Your Hand
9. Hello, Goodbye
10. Long Tally Sally

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Beatles Remastered 'Anthology' Albums Debut On All
Streaming Services

Billboard
4/4/2016

by Gil Kaufman

We had to wait until last Christmas to hear the Beatles' studio albums on streaming services. On Monday morning (Apr. 4) at 12:01 a.m., the Fab Four went all in, offering remastered version of their Anthology albums on all major services.

Anthology, Volumes 1-3, which were originally released in two-disc sets in 1995 and 1996, included rare and previously unreleased recordings, plus studio outtakes, alternate versions and singles "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love." Upon their original release, the collections went multi-platinum in several countries and "Free as a Bird" (completed by George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr from 1977 demos recorded by John Lennon) was the Beatles' 34th top 10 hit in the U.S.

All three volumes were remastered at Abbey Road Studios by the same group of engineers who worked on the band's Grammy-winning 2009 studio album remasters. The tracks can be heard on major international services including Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play, Microsoft Groove, Prime Music, Rhapsody, Slacker Radio, Spotify and Tidal, as well as dozens of local streaming partners around the world.

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The Beatles 'Anthology' Series: 15 Demos & Alternate Versions
You Need to Hear
Six hours of Beatles bonus material is streaming now.
Here are the highlights.

Billboard
4/4/2016

by Joe Lynch

Back in 1995, the then-surviving Beatles -- Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr -- joined forces one final time to help create a definitive 11-hour documentary series about their culture-shifting run as the greatest rock band of all time. Accompanying The Beatles Anthology TV series were three separate double-disc albums featuringmore than six hours of unreleased live recordings, demos, alternate versions and, yes, even new material ("Free As a Bird" and "Real Love" were adapted by the three remaining Beatles from demos left by the late John Lennon).

Today (April 4), less than four months after the Beatles' studio album catalog hit music streaming services for the first time, those Anthology releases are finally available on international streaming services, too.

Longtime Beatlemaniacs will be pleased to see the Anthology 1-3 material so readily available; new obsessives will happily dig into the treasure trove. But for the rest of the world -- those who are Beatles fans but don't have six hours of attentive listening time to spare -- we're here to help with a more manageable guide to the Fab Four's three Anthology releases.

Below, here are the 15 songs from the Beatles Anthology series that you need to know. [Note: We're not including the two new (at the time of the Anthology 's 1995 release) Beatles songs. It goes without saying you should give those a listen, especially "Free As a Bird."]

Anthology 1

"Ain't She Sweet"

Knowing the historical outcome, it's hard to imagine a time when the Beatles struggled both commercially and creatively. But prior to their debut, the Beatles hadn't quite honed their songwriting skills and were still focused on doing covers. While recording as Tony Sheridan's backing band (The Beat Brothers) in Germany 1961, the group -- operating with soon-to-be-replaced drummer Pete Best on the kit --cut a rock n' roll version of this 1927 cutesypop hit with Lennon on vocals. No, t's not going to become one of your favorite Fab Four tracks, but the Anthology 1 version is an important snapshot of a good rock band on the cusp of becoming a great artistic force. Later in the series, on Anthology 3, we hear the band playing the song during the laborious Let It Be studio sessions. With Ringo drumming the tune with them for the first time, the band actually sounds like it's having a blast -- which wasn't always the case during the recording of that album, as anyone who has watched the hard-to-find Let It Be documentary knows.

"You Know What To Do"

Even though he wasn't an immaculate craftsman like Lennon or McCartney, Harrison's songwriting abilities were nevertheless imposing -- and tragically underused and under-appreciated in the Beatles' early days. This song is a prime example: It's an affable, instantly memorable shuffling pop tune that could have fit in nicely on Beatles for Sale. But the rest of the group wasn't a fan and the song sat neglected for decades until the Anthology 1 release, at which point Harrison admitted he had forgotten it existed.

"Can't Buy Me Love"

While it's hard to imagine a different take being better than the studio version of "Can't Buy Me Love," this looser take shows the songat a stage before they had each millisecond flawlessly mapped out. While the backup vocals are louder to the recording's detriment, McCartney's vocals on this take sound wilder and more uninhibited -- his performance arguably rocks harder here than on the final version.

Anthology 2

"Got to Get You Into My Life"

Without the punchy, soulful horns of the final version on Revolver, McCartney's ode to weed takes on a quaint lo-fi charm here. Maybe it's the presence of an understated organ paired with a sweet melody, but this Beatles demo makes an argument that before all the studio polish, what McCartney was doing in the studio wasn't terribly removed from what the Velvet Underground was doing across the ocean around the same time -- at least as far as Lou Reed's lo-fi pop tunes were concerned.

"Tomorrow Never Knows"

Speaking of the Velvet Underground, it's hard to listen to the demo version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" and not be reminded of the droning rock shuffle of the New York avant-garde rock outfit. True, Lennon's melody is nowhere near what the VU was doing, but the Beatles as a rock band are laconic here in the best possible sense. While the studio version features tight drumming and intricate tape loops, this is the sound of a drugged out band plodding away at a song without bothering to properly mic the setup. If the Beatles hadn't been interested in commercial success, maybe they would have experimented further in drone-based rock. As for what turned them on to drone in the first place, it seems likely that the sound of the tanpura, an Indian drone instrument Ravi Shankar used, introduced them to the idea of a consistent note throughout a composition.

"Strawberry Fields Forever"

The demo version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" is a gentle reminder than aside from all the studio tinkering, this is one of Lennon's loveliest melodies. The "Take 7" version features one of the most interesting minutes of music on the entire Anthology series. Although some of the tape loops are present, the sound is mostlythe Beatles using in-studio percussion to create a psychedelic coda. Incidentally, you can quite clearly hear Lennon saying "Cranberry sauce" in this take -- unlike his utterance in the Magical Mystery Tour version of the song, there's no mistaking it for "I buried Paul."

"A Dayin the Life"

It's fascinating to hear the curtain pulled back on this one. At this stage in the recording of "A Day in the Life," the orchestra hadn't entered the picture, so we learn what they were using as a placeholder in between the demos of Lennon and McCartney's verses. Instead of the orchestral climaxes, we hear a repeated chord played from lowest to highest on a piano while assistant Mal Evans counts off the bars, his voice reverberating with echo.

Anthology 3

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"

This demo is worth listening to just to hear Lennon flub his guitar chords and sing, "Mother Superior jumped -- oh shit." This slower version also finds Lennon ad-libbing about his then-new love, Yoko Ono. "Yoko Ono no," he sings, followed by, "Yoko Ono yes." So yes, even John was making Yoko Oh No/Yoko Oh Yes jokes back in the day.

"Helter Skelter"

When the White Album dropped, people wondered where the hell the Beatles' crushingly loud "Helter Skelter" came from. Not only was there no antecedent in their arsenal, but there was precious else in rock music that had gone this hard before. This early recording of the proto-metal classic -- the lightning-fast lead guitar isn't yet present -- shows how the song started as a bluesy, plodding guitar number that grows into a hard, muscular song. Since early metal grew out of blues-rock played extremely loud and slow, it makes sense that the Beatles stumbled upon the metal sound in the same way Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer did.

"Teddy Boy"

This one isn't worth hearing for its musical value, but for what it reveals about the group at the time. While rehearsing his admittedly simplistic sing-along "Teddy Boy," McCartney is berated by Lennon, who mocks the nursery rhyme-ish tune as Paul attempts to record it. Lennon starts out by adding(presumably unwanted) voices to the song, before he starts singing bits of "The Hokey Pokey" and "Swing Your Partner Round and Round" while McCartney plays. Macca later admitted he dropped the song from the Let It Be sessions because the rest of the band just wasn't having it; it was included on his debut solo album McCartney.

"Oh! Darling"

During this run through of the Abbey Road classic, we listen as Lennon learns that Yoko Ono's divorce finally went through. Instead of stopping the recording, John takes over lead vocal from Paul, singing about finally getting his romantic freedom to the tune of "Oh! Darling": "I'm free this morning, the paper told the lawyer it's okay," he ad-libs.

"Glass Onion"

There are two versions of "Glass Onion" in the Anthology series. The second one is musically closer to the White Album version than the first, but it's radically different at the end. Instead of George Martin's nervous strings carrying the song out, the track ends with a massive glass-shattering noise and a sports announcer screaming "it's a goal!" on repeat.

"Rocky Raccoon"

McCartney flubs this early take on the acoustic storytime number by singing about a doctor "sminking of gin" instead of "stinking of gin." But instead of throwing in the towel and starting over, he laughs and keeps singing, rewriting the lyrics on the fly to address the gin sminking situation before finding his way back to the real lyrics.

"What's the New Mary Jane"

A surrealistic White Album leftover from John, the titular "Mary Jane" is generally assumed to be a reference to marijuana. Supporting that is the fact that the second half of the song plays like an acid trip, with atonal instrumentation taking the place of the song's simple melody as random samples and voices cascade back and forth across the speakers. At the end of the ambient portion, Lennon says, "Let's hear it before we get taken away."

"Come Together"

While Lennon delivers the album version with a cool detachment, he sings this take like his life depends on it. In full rock mode, his vocal cords scratch at his upper Little Richard regions during this take. At the end, we hear some alternate lyrics for the song; we also hear Lennon crack up laughing at the surrealistic absurdity of the words he's delivering.

Honorable mention: On Anthology 1, skip to 2:33 on "Till There Was You" to hear Lennon's hilarious intro to "Twist and Shout": "Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands, and the rest of you just rattle your jewelry."





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