This change to the law does extend (some) copyrights by 20 years, and in some cases, indefinitely (in the sense of for a currently undefined period, rather than for ever), and in a few cases, pulling works previously in the public domain back into copyright.
The Regulations in question do several things, and there is a lot of misinformation going around about this (including in the summary above; I haven't read the CNN article).
The new EU law extends the copyright and performance rights (which are different things that usually go to different people) in certain sound recordings by 20 years. But as a compromise, adds new reversion etc. powers for the performance rights only, for the last 20 years only. So if someone performs for a sound recording today, and waives their performance rights, in 50 (to 100) years they might be able to do something.
The recent release (probably) wasn't anything to do with the change in the law, but the way the existing law words. The copyright in the sound recordings lasts for 50 years (technically, as with all of these, 50 + the rest of that year). However, if the work is legally published or performed in public during that period, the copyright lasts an extra 70 (was 50) years. So had Apple Corp. released these sound recordings next month, the copyright (in the sound recordings, but not in the underlying songs; they last the full "life + 70") would have expired on 31 December 2013. But by releasing them this month, the copyright will last until 31 December 2083 (assuming no changes in the law).
It is hard to see the decision to publish in December 2013 (verses any other time in the last 50 years) as anything other than a way to maximise the copyright duration, and thus the book value of the copyright.
But yes, if the work wasn't published, "control" over the sound recordings would have resorted to whoever holds the copyright in the underlying songs - which may be some of the individual Beatles or might be Michael Jackson's estate, as I understand he owned some of the copyrights.