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The Beatles are coming to streaming services on Christmas Eve

The Beatles in 1964.
The Beatles in 1964.
Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Streaming music services have long had a giant, Beatles-shaped hole in their offerings. The classic band has been notably absent from Spotify, Apple Music, and other apps. That will change at midnight on December 24.

The Beatles' music is coming to all the major streaming services — Spotify, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Google Play, Rhapsody, and others — at the same time.

The Beatles have been late adopters to digital music. Their albums weren't available on iTunes until 2010, in part because Apple and Apple Corps, which represents the Beatles and their heirs, had a longstanding feud. Streaming the Beatles is likely to be a gold mine for Universal Music, which owns both the rights to their albums and a stake in Spotify.

Go deeper:

  • Last month, Marc Hogan, writing in Vulture, lined up the reasons suggesting the time was right for the Beatles to start streaming.
  • Confused about how the money flows from Spotify and other services to labels and artists? Here's Kelsey McKinney's guide for Vox on the debate over streaming and how it actually works.
  • The Beatles' announcement features a spinning globe that lights up as the songs become available in each time zone. It's gimmicky but kind of fun.