Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So Apple's big news is you can now download the Beatles albums (stereo versions only) from the iTunes store. Finally, the world will get to hear these legendary albums in all their lossy compressed glory.

The only thing I can see that is remarkable about this is that the Beatles waited until the CD was an almost dead format to remaster their catalog. Now they've waited until downloads are almost irrelevant to make their catalog available that way.

And it's pretty lame that Apple hyped it by referencing a McCartney solo tune that John Lennon famously hated. I mean, I'm not one of these "John is God" and the "real" Paul died in 1967 guys, but come on.

Update: I just browsed through some of the reviews posted on iTunes. It seems some people are actually very excited about this. Here's are a couple sample reviews of the Yellow Submarine album:
"Holy Firetruck this is awesome!: Wow. It's been so long. I've waited for this moment feels like forever. My English teacher will be really happy when he finds out it's here!"
FINALLY!!!!!!: YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! They are finally selling the beatles on itunes!!!!!now this is sweet!!!!!
What am I missing here? Am I underwhelmed simply because I'm an old fart, and I've owned this music on 45 rpm singles, cassettes, LPs, CDs, etc. and loaded all the albums onto my iPod long ago? (That's a rhetorical question, I know the answer). It's never been hard to get the Beatles into iTunes or onto an iPod, you just couldn't buy it from the iTunes store until today. Why does this matter? Is it because you can now purchase "Hey Bulldog" without also having to buy "Pepperland Laid Waste"? I'm not just trying to be snarky here, I really don't understand the fuss.


wardo said...

Which solo McCartney tunes was that? I didn't get the reference.

Pete Bilderback said...

"Another Day." The announcement on the Apple homepage yesterday said "Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget." That was one of the things that got people speculating the announcement would involve the Beatles.

John (perhaps somewhat petulantly) famously hated that song. He went so far as to put a direct jab about it into "How Do You Sleep." It's not really a big deal. It just struck me as a little tacky.

I would say the same thing if the announcement had been "You can't imagine the big news..." or "It didn't come easy before, but as of tomorrow it will," or "All things must pass, even the sue me sue you blues." Actually the last one would have been appropriate given the history of litigation between Apple Corp. and Apple Computers.

Peter Hennig said...

I hope no one in Japan stayed up past their bedtime waiting for that.

Pete Bilderback said...

One other thing. Let's say I just heard about this Beatles band that everyone is so excited to learn has made their music available on iTunes.

As of 10:00 AM today I could download the Beatles Box Set from iTunes for $149. Or I could go to Amazon and buy The Beatles Stereo Box new for $129.99 (with free shipping) and get the exact same content. I could then rip each of the CDs to my iTunes library and have a nice keepsake, even if I never listened to the CDs. If I went this route I could even do something a bit unscrupulous like turn around and sell the box set for $100 or so via Amazon's Marketplace (not that I am advocating that).

Personally, I think the pricing for music downloads is seriously out-of-whack for what you actually get (and I'm not just talking about The Beatles here).

wardo said...

"Another Day"? I'll give you that, but I think it's more coincidence. Plus, he did have a song called "Tomorrow", so there's that.

Pete Bilderback said...

Nah, I can't imagine it was just a coincidence. Every element was carefully planned, they even did the clock thing to suggest the Help album cover. Jobs is a huge Beatles fan. No way "just another day" slips in there by coincidence.

Don said...

This is exciting because it's Apple Computer. For some, that's all that's required. As Pete said, you can get the CDs for less money and in better quality but again, that plays to the Apple mantra.

CDs require plastic and printing and production. They are overpriced but they have a far better excuse for it than mp3 downloads. Sgt. Pepper may or may not be the greatest album of the rock era, but at $1.99 a song it certainly is not worth $28.