Why The Beatles' 2m sales on iTunes heralds a new era for collectors

A little while ago, we investigated how dwindling music sales could benefit the collectibles markets as fans, rather than buying CDs, seek to get closer to their idols by investing in 'the real thing' though concert tickets, memorabilia, etc.

But, while many artists are struggling to sell records in this era of illegal downloads, one band has adapted to the internet marketplace with perfect ease. Of course, it maybe helps that the group in question in The Beatles...

Just one week after Fab Four released their back catalogue on to iTunes, Apple's online mp3 download shop, the lads from Liverpool have managed to sell more than two million songs. This includes more than 450,000 digital albums sold between November 16 and 22.

According to reports, Here Comes The Sun was the most popular Beatles song on iTunes, while Abbey Road was the most downloaded album. The songs were released three years after The  Beatles' company (also coincidentally called) Apple struck-up a deal with music giant EMI.

And The Beatles new lease of life on iTunes could be great news for collectors. The Fab Four's newfound success will undoubtedly expose them to new listeners, creating more future demand for their memorabilia and pushing up values. (John Lennon's autograph value, for instance, has already grown by 756.1% over the last 10 years.)

McCartney: £10 can buy you a Beatles album, or £50 can buy you
a collectible that could bring you big profits...

The Beatles' web success also demonstrates a big advantage that downloadable files have over CDs or vinyl: ease of purchase. Access to The Beatles' entire back catalogue via a simple click of the mouse while have likely helped entice fans to iTunes.

This is great news for smaller collectibles businesses whose main avenue of retail is the internet.

One such business is A Small Piece of History, a website dedicated to making collectible pieces of history accessible to more people - collectibles which could gain value and become expensive assets in future years.

While buyers flock to iTunes to buy digital copies of Beatles classics Here Comes The Sun or Eleanor Rigby, they can also visit A Small Piece of History and acquire a hair from the head of Sir Paul McCartney himself for just £50.

Endorsers of celebrity hair include Harry Rubenstein, a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, who once commented: "More so than an autograph, it was a sign of affection." Elsewhere, hairs from the heads of John Lennon and Elvis Presley have sold for tens of thousands on the private markets.

Celebrity hair is one of the most unusual alternative assets on today's collectibles markets - yet also one of the most valuable, and a great example of how the collectibles markets are set to thrive as buyers become increasingly reliant on online retailers.


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