Apple Records Edges Into Digital Release: James Taylor, Yes; Beatles, No

Digital news today from EMI and *Apple* Records. No, it’s not the Beatles. That would make too much sense and deprive us of writing the same story repeatedly. But fans of James Taylor, Billy Preston, Badfinger and some of the other artists who recorded for the Beatles’ label should be pleased. EMI and *Apple* will release 15 albums, including JT’s eponymous debut James Taylor, as remastered CDs — and, for the first time — as digital downloads on Oct 26. EMI says most of the CDs will have enhanced material; I guess the mere fact that the album is for sale in digital is supposed to be the enhancement for that. These are the first digital releases from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) Record for download.

Members of the Beatles were directly connected to several of the albums or the artists. Paul McCartney and George Harrison can be heard on Taylor’s Carolina In My Mind; McCartney worked with The Iveys before they became Badfinger. Two of the albums are by Billy Preston (in my mind the real “fifth” Beatle); Harrison produced That’s The Way God Planned It and Encouraging Words with My Sweet Lord and All Things Must Pass before his own releases. Others are Doris Troy, whose self-titled album features Peter Frampton. Eric Clapton, Preston and songs with with Harrison and Ringo Starr; Modern Jazz Quartet; John Tavener; two from Mary Hopkin (Those Were The Days); four from Badfinger.

By now many who own the albums have already ripped them to their own digital collections, as undoubtedly, have some who never owned them. All my Beatles CDs are already on my hard drive and player. What makes these different is how difficult it can be to find some of them.

Cheers for making it happen. Deep sighs for taking so freaking long.