March 21, 2007 / 2:52 PM / 12 years ago

Elton John to put entire music catalog online

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 30 albums from Elton John will be made available for digital download later this month, the singer said on Wednesday, marking the first time his whole catalog of more than 400 tracks will go online.

Elton John performs in Beverly Hills, February 8, 2007. More than 30 albums from the singer and songwriter will be made available for digital download later this month, the singer said on Wednesday, marking the first time his whole catalog of more than 400 tracks will go online. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The 59-year-old, who has sold more than 200 million hard copies of records in a career spanning more than 40 years, has already released some of his more recent work online in the United States, but this will mark the first time his entire catalog is available.

John said he had wanted all his music to be online for some while but time was needed to prepare the entire catalog.

“I knew that the entire catalog — not just the hits — needed care and attention to be released in this way,” he said in a statement. “Now that it’s happening, I’m pleased for the fans’ sake.”

The catalog will be available exclusively from Apple Inc.’s iTunes service from March 26 until April 30 before being made available on other legal download services.

It will include his debut 1969 album “Empty Sky” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and tracks such as “Tiny Dancer”, “Your Song” and “Candle in the Wind”.

The move will coincide with the singer and songwriter’s 60th birthday and the global release in physical and digital formats of a new, 18-track compilation of his work, “Rocket Man — The Definitive Hits” from Universal Music Group’s Mercury Records.

John will also release some of his biggest hits as mobile phone realtones and a selection of video clips through digital music services including the duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Kiki Dee.

In January, new chart rules came into force in Britain which made any song eligible for chart entry regardless of its age or whether a physical copy was also available in shops.

That means Elton John could enjoy hits with his old songs if he sells enough downloads.

“The world has certainly changed since Philips Records issued my first single on seven-inch vinyl — 39 years ago this month,” he said.

John’s back catalog is owned by Universal Music Group, a unit of France’s Vivendi.

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