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Beatles Remastered

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Beatles Remasters - When???

Currently, the only Beatles tunes available in remixed and/or remastered form, improved from the original 1980s releases, are on two CDs:

  • Yellow Submarine Songtrack (1999)
  • Love (2007)

Remixed at Abbey Road Studios, the tracks of Yellow Submarine Songtrack feature many alterations and adjustments from the original stereo recordings. All of The Beatles songs included in the film are on Yellow Submarine Songtrack, with the exception of "A Day in the Life", which was not put in because EMI did not want too many songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to be included.

The Love album is a stunner and, as a teaser, shows what might be in store when the entire catalog is finally released. George Martin and his son managed to create an amazing "new" collection of Beatles material from the rich store of masters at EMI.

The latest news on the remastering

February 2009

The Audioholics Forum has a good thread discussing the remasters, mentioning MOJO magazine's teaser about "sometime in 2009" and speculating on sound quality etc. Worth checking out.

November 2008

From The Motley Fool Financial Website
Nov 26, 2008

If Apple Corps is Sgt. Pepper, then EMI is the Nowhere Man.

On Monday, rocker Paul McCartney said that negotiations between the Beatles' record company and label EMI, which owns the rights to the group's recordings, have stalled. Each has a say in how and when The Beatles will publish to iTunes.

"The last word I got back was it's stalled at the whole moment, the whole process," McCartney told the Associated Press. "I really hope it will happen, because I think it should."

Us, too, Sir Paul. Apple Corps and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) became embroiled in a trademark dispute in 2006 that lasted about a year. We've been waiting for the White Album on iTunes -- or maybe Help!, a personal favorite of mine -- ever since both sides decided to come together and work it out.

Do EMI and Apple Corps. know what they're missing? Certainly McCartney sees the value in digital sales, as do other labels. Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) recently reported a 28% year-over-year gain in digital sales. Universal Music, the largest label in the biz, said its digital take was up 33% for the first nine months of the year.

Perhaps EMI is the stumbling block. Apple Corps and Viacom's (NYSE: VIA) Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band, last week struck a deal to create a Beatles version of the game, VentureBeat reports.

October 2008

There's quite a bit of noise now about The Beatles remasters, and this website has a good thread on developments. Apparently, The Beatles music will be finding a digital home on MTV Games' Rock Band, according to this news article. "MTV Games, creator of the hit game Rock Band, and Apple Corps, which owns the rights to The Beatles' music catalogue, announced Thursday (Oct 30, 2008) that they plan to create a title that will feature only music from the Fab Four."

June 2007

Beatles fans will probably have to wait until next year before they can buy the Fab Four's tunes from online retailers such as Apple's iTunes store, George Harrison's widow has said.

A recent settlement to a lengthy trademark dispute between Apple and the Beatles' company, Apple Corps, has cleared the way for the band to distribute its catalogue in cyberspace.

But Olivia Harrison told Reuters, 'We just have a few things to work out elsewhere.'

Specifically, all the Beatles CDs have been remastered - good news for fans who have long complained about the poor sound quality - and the organisation wants to get the artwork ready for the physical packages.

Asked if the catalogue would be available online by the end of next year, she said, 'Oh God, yeah. Hope so ... I don't know if it would be the end of this year, but it would be nice. Imminent, let's put it that way.'

Paul McCartney, who has adopted an aggressive digital marketing strategy for the release next week of his solo album, Memory Almost Full, said last month that an online deal for the Beatles catalogue was 'virtually settled' - perhaps over the cheesecake he delivered to Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. But he, too, shied away from saying that anything would happen in the short term.

The Beatles are the highest-profile omission from digital retailers. While the dispute with Apple did not help, the band's organisation has traditionally adopted a conservative approach to new technology, including CDs.

'I think we're a little bit behind,' Harrison said, noting that it was 'ridiculous' that properly remastered CDs of the band's catalogue were not yet available.

'We [the band's members and widows] all agree. It's been done. It's just trying to now get it out there.'

She said that Neil Aspinall, the recently retired [now deceased] businessman who oversaw the group's complex business affairs, had been busy in recent years on the remastering project.

'That's a big job. That means you have to go back through all the archives and find great photographs and really give a nice package to the fans.'

Aspinall retired in April and was replaced by Jeff Jones, an American music industry executive who specialises in deluxe reissues of classic albums. Harrison said Aspinall's departure was voluntary, dispelling fan speculation to the contrary.

But she said Jones would 'pick up the pace' now that the most recent project, a Beatle-inspired Cirque du Soleil stage show in Las Vegas, was underway after years of preparation initiated by her husband before he died in 2001.

Reuters and Simon Aughton[1]

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