iTunes Beatles folly

I have to say, a lot of the sentiments stated in this article have crossed my mind periodically.  Can internet users, even those less technologically advanced ones, can find Beatles tunes out in the interwebs if they look.  They don’t even need to look that hard. 

It is astonishing to think of the opportunities missed by holding back the Beatles’ catalog this long.  The boat has left the port, and sailed around the world a few times already.  We are still waiting.  Once the inevitable deal is sealed, the Fab Four will make a HUGE splash on the digital realm. It will be heralded as a success, but imagine those missed oportunities so far.   We are still waiting.   Personally, I just want to hear the catalog in a remastered format.  I wonder what the true hold-up with the entire project really is…time will tell.

Here’s what we’ve read.

If you do a Google search for Beatles music what you will find is a massive collection of Beatles MP3s posted on web servers worldwide. It’s all there, every track from every album they ever made including the Christmas EPs, alternate takes and any other audio ephemera the global fans of the Fab Four could find and post. You don’t need LimeWire. You don’t need BitTorrent. And you don’t need iTunes.

So I can’t help but be amused by the ongoing decision to hold back the Beatles music from the download services. It has only driven fans to go to where the music is in ample supply.

Sure, Apple Records may be very interested in licensing out the catalog, but are just holding back as tough negotiators to garner extremely favorable terms. Afterall, the press attention iTunes is receiving just from the speculation that it will acquire the Beatles catalog is tremendous. Wouldn’t closing the deal bring even more fans to iTunes?

Yes it would. An iTunes deal will also generate revenue for the Beatles’ estate, which right now earns the surviving Beatles zero as far as digital downloads are concerned. The folly of iTunes and both Apples is that no one is holding back anything. It is all there. Mostly the description is in English, sometimes it is in Cyrillic, but it is all there. In this world – where those tuned in online are rewarded with instant gratification – even if iTunes wins the catalog tomorrow, many potential paying customers are long lost, because they long ago lost patience with an apprehensive record industry.

That’s why, outside of showing how continually out of step record execs are with technically empowered consumers, I feel any Beatles deal with iTunes is a non-story. Not everyone feels this way, of course. It seems anything with the word Apple or Beatles combined is newsworthy to most of the traditional and online press. In truth, a Beatles deal with iTunes is much ado about nothing. The real story – and the one I would like to see the likes of the Wall Street Journal or the NY Times actually pick up on – is that of the opportunity lost by holding back this catalog from digital sales for so long.

Natch, this fact will be lost once such a deal finally comes to fruition. That’s because the massive press the deal will garner will spark heavy Beatle consumption on iTunes during those opening weeks.

Sales will be relatively big and everyone will crow of success. The truth is somewhat more complicated and, I suspect, no one in the press will ask (and certainly none of the executives interviewed will volunteer) how much more was lost the several years preceeding the deal.

Source: mp3newswire


5 Responses

  1. I don’t really think a lot of people grasp how fairly difficult getting the entire Beatles catalog on iTunes actually is. It’s not that iTunes doesn’t want the business, because like any business, they want more customers.

    The trouble is with the catalog being owned by various people/companies and they all have to agree to give up the rights to the albums/songs they own. Then they have to settle on what they feel is a fair price to share these rights. So it’s not just a negotiation between two parties, but multiple parties.

    Another problem to consider is what incentive people who already own most of The Beatles have to purchase these albums again in a digital format. The most likely incentive they will consider is remastering their music in a high-quality format. That also takes time and resources and again more negotiating on who to undertake that project.

    And as to how far into this entire process everyone, I can only speculate. I think it would be awesome if The Beatles could be on iTunes, but I’m more than happy with my CDs.

  2. I wonder what’s holding up the project too. Didn’t Paul say it would happen soon? I’ve never been an iPod person… but if there were ever a Beatles iPod, it’d be pretty difficult to pass up. I just want that remastered catalog NOW, just like you said.

  3. does anyone knows if there is any other information about this subject in other languages?

  4. What am I missing? Can’t you rip a Beatles CD now to your iTunes library? Why would anyone want to pay for music they (most likely) already have on cd? Even if the iTunes downloads come from remastered Beatles songs, the downloads will be compressed to convert to the iTunes AAC format, right?I don’t have a iPod and I don’t download any iTunes. It would make better sense if the new Beatle tunes were from remastered versions and iTunes could actually download them in a lossy format, but I don’t think that iTunes offers this, do they?

  5. One correction to the above entry: I meant lossless and not lossy. The AAC format is lossy, if I’m right.

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