This Week’s Article (11-16-10)

In Music, Rich, Tuesday's Article on November 16, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Beatles Catalog Released To iTunes: Why It Doesn’t Matter

Up until today the Beatles were the most famous holdout from Apple’s iTunes.  For the seven years the service has existed, the Fab Four have refused to let their music be included.  The reasoning apparently had little to do with them being anti-download service, and more to do with issues of a business nature.  Namely they were unhappy about the payout structures, and were consumed with their ongoing legal disputes over Steve Jobs’ use of the name “Apple” as it’s also the name of the Beatles publishing company.

It’s my opinion that this resolution is of little or no consequence to the legacy of the Beatles or Apple and will have very little effect on either one’s respective industries.

Here’s why…

Why The Beatles Have Nothing To Gain Here

The Beatles are already one of the top-selling acts in history, so it’s not like they need iTunes as a sales avenue.  They just released a critically acclaimed remastering of their entire catalog last year on CD which is largely regarded as the best way to listen to the Beatles on record, period.  So there is little chance of the special iTunes Beatles Box Set with it’s “extended liner notes” and “making of footage” being worth the fortune they will charge for it.  Finally, any sort of mystery that the Beatles kept by not being available digitally is totally lost due to the prevalency of file-sharing and the fact they agreed to do a “Beatles Rock Band” video game.  As a result they’re not doing anything here that will affect their image.

Why Apple Gains Nothing

iTunes is already far and away the biggest name in legal music downloads.  The majority of their sales come from impulsively purchased singles.  They undoubtedly sell more Taylor Swift and Taio Cruz than they do Rolling Stones or The Who.

Classic albums (which I’m pretty sure the Beatles have a few of) are either purchased on CD or Vinyl and dubbed to people’s computer or downloaded from sites like mediafire or zshare.  Obviously there will be resulting sales from this deal, but nothing monumental that would justify the sort of hoopla that is surrounding the situation today.


We are dealing with two titans.  This may bring an almost decade long argument between the biggest name in technology and the biggest name in rock and roll to an end, but it’s an argument that affects very few people.

There is no surprise this deal generated the sort of headlines that it did.  But the bottom line is while it may have generated a lot of attention today, it will have very little effect on anything in either the music of technology industries tomorrow.



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