Have you read the news today? Oh boy!
Yesterday, Apple but up the enigmatic message of “Tomorrow is just another day that you’ll never forget.” on their website. A surprise announcement was on the way and speculation was rampant. I totally called it.
Without reading any speculations or articles, by just seeing this message I somehow instinctively knew it was going to be. I told it to my girlfriend. She didn’t even see the page, and she guessed what it was. Talk about an unsurprising surprise.
If you haven’t heard by now. The Beatles, after years of legal to-and-fro between Apple Corp and Apple Computers, have finally made their way onto iTunes for sale. Was it necessary to shut down part of the Apple website? No. Is this huge news? Sort of.
The point is that any minimally computer savvy person already has a digital version of The Beatles by some means. Some have ripped their physical CD collection into digital format. Others have obtained them through less legal means. But this isn’t about sales. It is about momentum.
The fact that The Beatles catalog has not been available for digital download is an reminder that the major record label system is broken and outdated. The hold-outs haven’t been The Beatles themselves, but the recording labels. I’m certain Paul and Ringo don’t care one way or the other. Hell, George’s son was the main person responsible for promoting The Beatles Rock Band to the gang. Yoko may have the hold-out, but she signed off on Rock Band as well leading me to believe that digitally distributed Beatles wasn’t too far off.
Apple Computers and Apple Corp haven’t had the best of relationships, starting off with issues of brand recognition. In one suit, Apple Corp told Apple Computers: ‘You can keep the name, but you can’t do audio production.’ In your default Mac sounds, you’ll see ‘Sosumi,’ which was made in-house at Apple Computers, and so named ‘So sue me’ off that very suit. This is an indication that even the staunchest of hold-outs in the recording business need to adapt to the trending changes. Physical media is still the top-selling method for getting music, but digital downloads aren’t slowing down by any means. It represents a victory for Apple Computers not only in terms of finally getting one of the best selling music catalogs in history, but also that the company that popularized digital music downloads still has the gusto to bring down giants to their playing field and showing the recording industry that their antiquated system isn’t going to cut it anymore.