Last Tuesday’s announcement that Apple would (at long last) carry The Beatles on iTunes probably struck you as either A) apparently earth-shattering news in the world of clickable music or B) fairly anticlimactic since you long ago found alternate ways (ahem) to transfer the Fab Four’s repertoire onto the ol’ iPod. But either way, the Beatles’ entree to iTunes is proving nothing but beneficial. In an effort to stay competitive after last week’s news, Amazon.com slashed the prices on all of its Beatles items. Sure, with Amazon, you have to wait for the actual discs (discs?) to arrive in the mail, but truly devoted budgeters can parlay this price war into some serious savings. Here’s how the two online vendors stack up.
These are the iTunes vs. Amazon prices for the Beatles’ 13 studio albums, plus three compilation records and a box set. Winners in orange.
The Beatles 1962–1966 (The Red Album)
The Beatles 1967–1970 (The Blue Album)
The White Album
All the other studio albums (Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles for Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, Let it Be)
Get the hint? Amazon comes out on top across the board. The most cost-effective purchase of the bunch is the Beatles Box Set (a $19.01 price difference between iTunes and Amazon), which gets you all 13 studio albums, the Past Masters compilation CD, a live album and a disc of documentaries (and—for the packaging-obsessed—it looks pretty sleek).
The three compilation albums average a savings of between $8 and $7 on Amazon and 12 of the studio recordings punch in at a $5 difference (The White Album boasts a savings of $8).
Even with Amazon.com’s shipping (at the very least, $2.98 per item for standard 3-5 day delivery), the mega-retailer comes out ahead. But your best bet is to buy in bulk and get the free shipping on all orders over $25.
Of course, for some iTunes silver lining, there is that downloadable instant gratification thing, and Amazon doesn’t quite do the trick if your computer’s missing a CD (CD??) drive.