A portion of The Beatles’ catalog, including the recently released “Now and Then,” has officially been licensed for YouTube Shorts.
YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced The Beatles’ YouTube Shorts arrival in a brief blog post today. Created in part with artificial intelligence, the mentioned “Now and Then” – which might not be the final Beatles track after all – made a splash upon debuting on the 2nd but quickly slipped off the charts.
Since then, there’s been a renewed push, complete with banner ads on Spotify, to bring the work back into the commercial spotlight. Enter The Beatles’ YouTube Shorts licensing pact, under which “Now and Then” as well as expanded editions of the Red Album and the Blue Album are making their way into clips “for the very first time.”
All told, the mentioned albums, referring specifically to newly released 2023 editions, encompass 36 “brand new mixes” and 75 overall songs, according to the relevant Big Three label as well as the track listings. To date, Beatles uploads have cracked a cumulative one billion views on YouTube, Cohen noted.
Elsewhere in the post, the 300 Entertainment co-founder took the opportunity to tout YouTube Shorts’ perceived effectiveness in enabling catalog releases to find entirely new audiences.
And while short-form apps have in fact driven listenership surges for certain music projects, most of the success stories seem to involve the highly controversial TikTok.
Notwithstanding years of regulatory scrutiny, worrisome allegations, and disconcerting lawsuits, viral trends on the ByteDance-owned app have helped a number of acts, many legacy artists among them, tap into new fanbases. Perhaps the most noteworthy example is the relaxation-minded series of clips featuring Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” which enjoyed a major boost with younger fans as a result.
Beyond delivering bolstered streaming revenue, merch sales, and concert attendance, the unexpected development was followed by catalog sales from Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie (whose estate closed a separate deal in October of 2023), Stevie Nicks, and Mick Fleetwood.
Of course, engineering a viral moment is easier said than done – though that hasn’t stopped the majors and others from attempting to do so. Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see how effective The Beatles’ YouTube Shorts inclusion is at driving new fans to tracks including “Now and Then.”
At the time of this writing, the song had 27 million YouTube views and 20.05 million Spotify streams, but wasn’t ranked in the latter’s Top 50 USA or Global playlists.