The Beatles Reveal ... Ringtones!

For more than a decade The Beatles have held out against allowing the creation of ringtones from their music. Now however, 27 of their top singles have been licensed for purchase as annoying, truncated mobile phone alerts.

The Beatles' 2000 compilation album 1, has been converted in its entirety into 30-second iTunes ringtones, the band announced this week. The set includes classics from Love Me Do to Paperback Writer, and includes Yellow Submarine, Hey Jude and The Ballad of John and Yoko.

The move to ringtones would otherwise not be newsworthy except for the Beatles' extreme reluctance to sell their songs as digital tracks. It wasn't until 2010 that their albums' sale on iTunes was finally approved. Within the following week, they sold more than 450,000 full-lengths and 2m digital tracks.

While the ringtone market is not quite as talked-about as it once was, the industry is still worth almost $2.2bn (£1.45bn). Additionally, most mobiles (and many of their users) are now sophisticated enough to use home-made ringtones, not just those that are purchased from carriers. Long before the Beatles began offering official ringtones, fans who had their songs could convert them for iPhone use. And a Google search for "Beatles ringtones" brings up plenty of free, unofficial options, too.