Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rant #377: An Apple a Day ...

So I hear that Apple will now offer the Beatles’ music catalog to the world as part of iTunes.

Whoopee do!

Look, I guess that it’s great to have the world’s most important catalog available to the masses via legitimate means. But I don’t think that this is going to be much of a money maker for either iTunes or the Beatles.

This time, the Beatles were late to the party. When iTunes was new and innovative, Beatles music was not available there, but it doesn’t mean it was not available. People still own the records and 45s, and their music has been available on CD since compact disks made their debut in the early 1980s.

And of course, their music—and every permutation of their music, not just the legitimate releases—has been available online for decades. You just have to know where to look for it. It’s not like the music has not been available, which was the case with the Dave Clark Five. The music has been out there, and by this time, if you don’t have at least some Beatles music in your collection … well, I feel sorry for you.

More to the point, offering the Beatles catalog to the masses is sort of like McDonald’s offering “healthier” food on its menu. It’s nice to have that choice when you go into one of their restaurants, but as far as volume, will these choices ever come anywhere near the volume that a Big Mac generates? Probably not.

It’s nice for iTunes to offer this prestigious catalog as part of its library. But the Beatles have been so available, I can’t see people rushing out and trashing their record and CD libraries just to get a hold of the Beatles mp4s on iTunes.

And for audiophiles, the mp4s Apple is offering don’t come anywhere near the fidelity of CDs or even records. They are certainly handier, but not better sounding.

So with the Beatles catalog in tow, iTunes can now offer single songs or albums from the most famous and influential rock band in history. And just for that, it makes sense for them to have the ability to offer the catalog to those who want it.

But for me— someone who has every Beatles album on vinyl, many singles and CDs of the Fab Four too—it really isn’t that big a deal. No, it’s not a big deal at all. Multiply “me” by millions of others in a similar situation, and you can understand why I, personally, am a little blasé about the whole thing.

But what do I know? I heard later that since their LPs have become available on iTunes, many of their albums are in the service's top-selling albums list. I guess people who already have these things 50 times over want it for the 51st time too. I mean, what is iTunes offering that you can't get elsewhere? There is nothing new, no previously unreleased cuts ... so is the newness having it digitally?

I guess people, even in a severe economic times, have money to burn ... literally.

What’d the Beatles sing? “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on … .”


  1. I have to agree with you on this one, Larry. As you said, it was different with the Dave Clark Five--we didn't have anything since 1993, so their induction into the Hall of Fame and ultimately a release on iTunes was a big deal and one that many fans snagged quickly. The other thing is that not everyone owns an iPod or wants to (myself being one), so the inclusion isn't going to be a big deal either way-I buy all my music on CDs anyway.

  2. Same here. I want nothing to do with iTunes, and I don't have an iPod either. So many people do, so maybe it's important to them, but since the iTunes releases of the Fab Four are nothing more than digital releases of music that's been out there for decades, what really is the big deal that this is being made out to be? It's certainly not for Baby Boomers.



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