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Where Else but iTunes for The Beatles?


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May 09, 2006

Where Else but iTunes for The Beatles?

Arik Hesseldahl

Now that the latest bit of legal unpleasantness between Apple Computer and Apple Corps. – all but for an ill-advised appeal to a higher court – the jockeying among the online music services to land the exclusive rights to The Beatles catalog is underway.

But where else can The Beatles realistically turn but iTunes? What company in the business other than Apple Computer has a the advertising and marketing expertise to do justice to the 21st Century re-purposing of some of the most important music of the 20th Century? More after the jump.

Rhapsody perhaps? I doubt it. I didn’t even know that RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service had landed the exclusive rights to the post-Beatles John Lennon catalog, and never would have known about it had it not been for me happening upon this MacWorld story from late last year. If Rhapsody landed The Beatles, how would they tell the world?

But imagine the other possibilities. Now that we’ve seen repeatedly how badly the lawyers for the two Apples can beat up on each other, why not put them together and see what they can do in Harmony. Imagine the new interest in the iPod and iTunes from a generation of digital holdout boomers who don’t get the attraction of the whole thing? Imagine the new interest in The Beatles from an iPod-centric generation who right now can only get the music by ripping it from CDs, or buying weird knockoffs that slaughter the original songs in profoundly unoriginal ways like on this oddity, Beatles Regrooved.

Next imagine the ads. One of the most memorable ads of my high school years was the Nike ad set to “Revolution.” I found the video here. Everyone knows the music of The Beatles. Combine those powerfully familiar songs with the high production values of an iPod ad and you’d have something pretty powerful that would make the U2 Vertigo ad look pretty tame by comparison. Nearly everyone remembers seeing an iPod ad. The rest will remember this one.

I wonder if there’s anything left in The Beatles vaults that hasn’t ever seen the light of day that could serve as the exclusive of all exclusive tracks on iTunes.

No matter what kinds of promotional ideas the two can come up with – and the scenarios are endless – it would clearly be good business for both parties. If that isn’t obvious to Neil Aspinall, maybe he should go back to being a roadie. It certainly makes more sense than more lawsuits.

02:43 PM

iPod and iTunes

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What is iPod's market share? 80+ % ? What digital download music store can feed iPods? Which digital download music store can be used from the most computers? And offers product that can be played on the most computers? iTMS so eclipses all the others, Apple Corp would have to intentionally go out of their way to do themselves business harm to go with any service other than iTMS. I don't care how much they are paid/bribed or whatever. Any other digital download music store can only hope to sell, what?, 10% of what the iTMS could? Ok, maybe they can/will roll their own, but if they choose any single existing service other than iTMS, they are making a big fat business mistake, IMO.

Posted by: Pls do the right thing lads at May 9, 2006 10:14 PM

Ah, and don't forget the Beatles branded iPod.

Posted by: Josh at May 10, 2006 11:37 AM

Uh.. you know Apple Corps is going to try to sell them themselves under their own store... and they will do it badly. You think they really want to give the catalog to Apple Computer to only get a piece of the pie when they can have all of the pie? Problem is for that scenario is that they will have to do all the marketing and we all know that nobody has heard of Apple Corps aside from all this Apple Computer vs Apple Corps legal stuff. Still, I bet they try to do it themselves.

Posted by: Chris at May 10, 2006 03:28 PM

... the Beatles iPod? It's the WHITE one, right?

Posted by: Bubba at May 10, 2006 03:47 PM

It's possible the Beatles would go to Microsoft and try to use their fame and popularity to bolster MS's fledgling service and smack down Apple Computer. But where is Led Zeppelin? They've arguably outsold the Beatles (according to Billboard) and show no signs of going digital. And Swan Song isn't suing anyone.

Posted by: Jodeo at May 10, 2006 03:52 PM

Somewhat ironically, wouldn't the same agreement that (supposedly) was invoked to prevent Apple Computer from entering the music business prevent Apple Corps. from launching their own website to sell the Beatles music. Since the judge has already ruled that the iTunes store doesn't constitute "making music" wouldn't it necessarily constitue computing (of some sort), and isn't that explicity a no-no for Apple Corps?

Posted by: AW at May 10, 2006 04:47 PM

I don't think anything prevents the Beatles from operating their own music store, so long as they don't call it "Apple" something. In the same way, Apple Computer, Inc. is free to open it's own record company and release CDs ... it just can't be called Apple Records.

Or at least that's how I understand it.

Posted by: CW at May 10, 2006 06:33 PM

I can imagine a psychadelic Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds ipod ad...

Wouldn't that be cool...

Posted by: FD at May 11, 2006 08:58 AM

If the Beatles meaning the survivors and those with legal rights to its music have any desire to bring the music legacy to another generation they have to sign with iTunes. My 14 nephew is into the Beatles these days but instead of having him illegally download I burned him copies of my entire (complete) Beatles collection on CD. That's one customer you missed Beatles, and by the way he has an iPod.

Posted by: Kerry b at May 11, 2006 09:03 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWm6KMJGhGc

Posted by: ds at June 21, 2006 02:11 AM

Why aren't the Beatles on iTunes? Itunes is missing out on a large profit that would come from allowing the Beatles on Itunes. A lot of kids (including me) are starting to listen to the Beatles and their cd sales are going up it would make it a lot easier if itunes had these great songs to listen to and download. Also, they don't have Led Zeppelin.

Posted by: Jimmy at November 23, 2006 11:16 PM


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