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A collection of unreleased Beatles recordings from 1963 has hit iTunes exclusively in an effort from Apple Records and Universal Music to preserve the copyrights, which were set to expire at the end of the month.
The collection includes 59 tracks and is titled Bootleg Recordings 1963. Some of the tracks are additional BBC recordings that didn’t appear on Live at the BBC or On Air: Live at the BBC volume 2. There are also studio outtakes recorded during the whirlwind one-day session for the Please Please Me album, alternate takes of singles like “From Me To You” and takes of “One After 909.” The set concludes with demo recordings of “Bad To Me” and “I’m In Love,” which the group did not record in the studio.
The copyrights of the recordings would have expired after 50 years had they not been officially released by Apple. But since a new European Union law was put in place to extend copyrights by 70 years, Apple had the opportunity to renew the copyrights by releasing them...while also charging $39.99 for them.
This is actually becoming common in Europe. As The BBC notes, Bob Dylan and Sony had to do something similar with recordings from 1962 last year, but they picked a more sneaky way to do it. That Dylan collection was limited to 100 copies, but it was enough to extend the copyrights. Motown also did the same thing on iTunes, releasing Motown Unreleased on iTunes.