After years of holding out, the Beatles, one of the most critically acclaimed and widely beloved rock bands of all time, have finally made their albums available for download from Apple's iTunes music store. Initially, users will only be able to download entire albums -- a format the Beatles helped pioneer and define -- although single songs may become available in the future.
Initially, many of the Beatles contemporaries, like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, also resisted joining the online evolution. However, over the years, each band eventually put their recordings up on the iTunes store.
In many cases, the resistance was as much financial as philosophical, as both parties angled for the best possible deal. That is especially true of the Beatles and Steve Jobs, who had spent years suing each other over the moniker "Apple," which the Beatles used as the name of their record label long before the advent of the personal computer.
The implications of this development may not match the hype Apple stirred up before the event. Beatles MP3s had been available from Amazon's digital music store for some time, and many fans have been illegally downloading Beatles songs for over a decade.