Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple sells 450,000 Beatles albums

November 23, 2010: 5:33 PM ET

A strong, but not a blockbuster showing, according to the New York Times

Source: Apple Inc.

It may not have been a day we'll never forget, as Apple's (AAPL) teaser promised, but the launch of the Beatles on iTunes did make a splash.

EMI announced Tuesday that in their first week as digital downloads on iTunes, more than 450,000 Beatles albums and 2 million individual tracks were purchased worldwide.

That's better than the skeptics predicted, but hardly a Beatles record.

According to the New York Times, which crunched the numbers, those 450,000 album downloads -- 119,000 in the U.S., according to Billboard.biz -- pale compared with last year's sales of the remastered albums. In September 2009, EMI sold 626,000 CDs in a week in the U.S. alone.

Judging from the iTunes bestseller lists, sales have already peaked. Abbey Road, the top selling Beatles download, reached the No. 7 spot last week. A week later it had dropped to No. 17.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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