Sweden’s Spotify reels in new Beatles music fans

Sweden's Spotify reels in new Beatles music fans
The Beatles performing in New York in 1964. Photo: Dan Grossi/TT
After streaming firms including Spotify reached a deal to include tracks by The Beatles for the first time, 'Come Together' has become the most-played track by fans new and old.

The best-selling band in history ended a long boycott and made its catalogue available through streaming, last Thursday, just in time for Christmas.

Swedish firm Spotify, the largest streaming service, said that fans in the first three days had streamed Beatles songs 70 million times — which means that on average every user of the site listened to one Beatles song around the Christmas holiday.

'Come Together' was well ahead as the most popular song, with more than 2.3 million streams as of early Monday on Spotify.

While the company did not offer analysis, the bluesy rock song from 1969 was the opener on 'Abbey Road', The Beatles' best-selling album, so it may have benefited from listeners who immediately hit play on the album.

'Here Comes the Sun', also off 'Abbey Road' was also among the most listened to, although it was outpaced by two other Beatles tunes with themes of hope — 'Let It Be' and 'Hey Jude'.

Spotify said that 65 percent of its Beatles listeners were under the age of 34 — too young to have direct memories of a band which broke up in 1970.

“We're helping introduce a new generation of fans to the most important band in history,” Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a blog posting.

Spotify has been beset by criticism by artists, notably Taylor Swift, who argue that the streaming service does not pay back enough to artists.

The company has disputed the charges and tried to portray streaming as a rare source of growth in a largely stagnant music industry.

Ek, 32, described The Beatles' arrival on Spotify as a “personal triumph” in light of the Swedish entrepreneur's own childhood.

“My grandmother was into jazz and my grandfather was an opera singer. The one thing in my youth that everyone in my family — my mom, uncle, aunt and grandparents — could all agree on musically was The Beatles,” he wrote.

Unlike a growing number of artists who have forged exclusive deals, The Beatles are streaming on all major services including Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play Music, Rhapsody and Tidal, as well as Sweden's Spotify.