Beatles New Songs: Copyright laws force Apple to release 59 unreleased tracks

Beatles tracks once only found as bootlegs to be sold as legal downloads in move that could set a trend for annual releases.

With the absolute minimum of fanfare and the greatest of reluctance, 59 Beatles songs are being released next week by Apple Records.

There won’t be the often talked about 28-minute version of Helter Skelter, nor the “holy grail” 1967 performance of Carnival of Light. But there will be four extra versions of She Loves You, five A Taste of Honeys, three outtakes of There’s a Place and two demos of songs given to other artists.

On Tuesday Apple will release the downloads of Beatles recordings which have long been bootlegged but never been made legally available. They include outtakes, demos and live BBC radio performances. A spokeswoman for Apple would only confirm that the 59 tracks are being released. As to the company’s motivation: “No comment.” Is it because of the copyright laws? “No comment.”

One reason for that, says Beatles blogger Roger Stormo, is that the record company does not really want to release the material in the first place โ€“ its hand is being forced. “The only reason why they are doing this is to retain the copyright of this material,” he said.

The release is because of recent changes in European Union copyright laws. Previously artists would retain copyright for 50 years after a song was released. That was increased to 70 years but another change makes unreleased material free of copyright โ€“ and therefore in the public domain โ€“ 50 years after it has been recorded.

Industry observers say the Beatles release could be one of many annual issuings of previously unreleased recordings.

Source: The Guardian