Sean Michaels 

The Beatles ringtones: roll up for the magical mystery tone

After a decade of resistance, band license 27 of their hits to iTunes for use as mobile ringtones
  
  

After holding out against ringtones for more than a decade, the Beatles have licensed 27 of their top singles for purchase as annoying, truncated mobile phone alerts.

The entirety of the Beatles' 2000 compilation album, 1, has been converted into 30-second iTunes ringtones, the band announced this week. The set includes everything from Love Me Do to Paperback Writer, including Yellow Submarine, Hey Jude and The Ballad of John and Yoko.

The move to ringtones would not be newsworthy except for the Beatles' extreme reluctance to sell their songs as digital tracks. It wasn't until 2010 that the mop-tops finally approved their albums' sale on iTunes. Within a week, they sold more than 450,000 full-lengths and 2m digital tracks.

While the ringtone market is not as talked-about as it once was, the industry is still worth almost $2.2bn (£1.45bn), according to the research firm Gartner. Ironically, most mobiles are now sophisticated enough to use user-generated ringtones, not just those that are purchased from carriers. Long before the Beatles began offering official ringtones, fans who had purchased their songs could convert them for iPhone use. And a Google search for "Beatles ringtones" brings up plenty of free, unofficial options, too.