The digital music world got a big break early on Tuesday (November 16), as Apple announced that more than seven years after the establishment of the iTunes Store (the premier digital music outpost on the Internet, responsible for over 10 billion songs sold), the Beatles are finally available for purchase. The legendary band’s entire remastered catalog is now live on iTunes, with the bonus addition of an iTunes-specific box set that features all of the group’s albums plus a ton of bonus content (including making-of footage and extended liner notes).
For the longest time, the Beatles were the major holdout on iTunes, as most other legendary bands made themselves fully available via the sales service. Led Zeppelin famously held out but eventually made their stuff available a few years back, and despite the fact that digital music has always made them nervous, you can get the entire Metallica collection on iTunes as well.
But what bands are still holding out? It’s an interesting combination of artists.
The Australian hard rockers have always been extremely protective of their back catalog. They steadfastly refuse to put together a greatest hits album, and it has paid off, as their old albums (especially 1980’s Back in Black) are constants in the charts. They have never made their music available through iTunes, and the only digital deal they’ve ever signed was with Verizon (where you could purchase their songs via Verizon phones).
Strangely, you can get just about any of the Tool side projects (including A Perfect Circle and Puscifer), but the band itself is nowhere to be found.
Most of the important Prince albums (1999, Purple Rain, Batman) can be bought via iTunes, but a bunch of the mid-period albums (including Musicology and The Rainbow Children) aren’t available.
You can actually still download Grit Sandwiches for Breakfast, but if you want to get your hands on any of Rock’s more recent (and better quality) music, you have to look elsewhere. Rock used to be available but had his music pulled after taking umbrage with the cut that iTunes got from the sales of his hit single “All Summer Long.”
Want to crank up “Old Time Rock and Roll”? You have to rely on tribute bands or good old-fashioned compact discs, and Seger isn’t available.
There are a few things available, but if you’re really interested in the epic weirdness of Safe as Milk or Trout Mask Replica, iTunes can’t help you. (Luckily they’ve got the entire Frank Zappa back catalog, so you can still get your fill of guitar-based oddness.)