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Beatles and iTunes At Last? 246

rjshirts writes "Ars Technica is reporting that the Beatles and Apple have signed a reported $400 million dollar deal to bring the entire Beatles Catalog to iTunes. From the article: 'As of today there is no time frame as to when the catalog will appear online, but it seems to just be a matter of time. McCartney himself even said in November that the catalog would be making its way onto the the store some time in 2008. While we have heard this sort of thing time and time again, this might just be the real deal. Prepare yourself — Beatlemania is coming to iTunes.'"
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Beatles and iTunes At Last?

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  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:10PM (#22709632)
    > Guess that means i'll have to buy the white album again

    It's taken 30 years, but the irony is that the $400M is still cheap compared to the costs to everyone of relitigating [wikipedia.org] the original lawsuit against... Apple Records [wikipedia.org], originally owned by none other than The Beatles.

    The case in question is one of the landmark cases whereby trademarks can be deemed non-infringing, so long as there a "reasonable man" wouldn't be confused. In 1978, there was absolutely no confusion that the "Apple" that computers wasn't the same "Apple" as the one that made vinyl discs.

    In the 80s, when computers started to be capable of producing sound (and especially when "Apple" computers started to talk MIDI), the "Apple" vinyl disc company tried again, and as a side effect, killed the Apple ][.

    Every few decades, Apple Records tries to fuck Apple Computer out of a few million more bucks, and yes, they did it in response to the Mac, and in response to iTunes. It was only a couple of years ago that it was finally laid to rest.

    For $400M in exchange for an agreement whereby Apple Computer can finally start selling the products of the Beatles (which, unlike the past few times, might actually be a win-win for both Apple and the Beatles), this had better be the last time this lawsuit rears its ugly head.

    But much like the fact that the Beatles want to sell you the White Album every few years, this case will probably show up again.

  • Re:400 Million? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:12PM (#22709654)
    At $1/track they'd have to sell more than one track to every man, woman, and child in the US to recoup it.

    Who buys only one Beatles track? Let's say one person in ten buys music legally, and only half of those like the Beatles - one in twenty overall. If you like the Beatles, you'll download at the very least Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and the White Album. That's 57 tracks; you're looking at not far short of three tracks sold per capita.

    The problem really is that the planet is saturated with Beatles music. Who in the world doesn't already have those albums on CD?

  • Re:400 Million? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:16PM (#22709680)
    Are the boomers really buying that much music online?

    I know my dad is. He lost most of his music collection in Katrina. He's been rebuying things as he wants to hear them from iTunes.
  • Re:400 Million? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by psychodelicacy ( 1170611 ) <bstcbn@gmail.com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:26PM (#22709758)
    But haven't yet stopped being popular with new generations, and when those people discover the Beatles, they'll probably buy their stuff on iTunes rather than buying CDs. It would be a problem if only the Beatles' original audience wanted their music, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  • by pnevin ( 168332 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:32PM (#22709788)
    If you go back and listen to the Anthology CDs, you realise just what a godsend they are to unauthorised mashup creators. CCC's Revolved relied heavily on Anthology samples, for example.

    As much as I'd love to hear the studio stuff, they'd have to have an eye on that sort of reuse.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:42PM (#22709918)
    Who said I didn't obey the law?

    I can freely download any music or video files, even if they are under copyright protection. This is legally allowed because of a blanket tax on empty CDs, DVDs, memory disks, etc. 10% of that tax revenue goes away for administration costs and 90% is distributed based on national sales figures plus some black magic.

    I haven't bought a single empty CD or DVD in the past 6 years, but I'm sure the local linux users group and system administrators are really glad they are supporting the one hit wonder of the day with their or their companies funds. So yeah, the system is fucked and the still living Beatles members will never see a penny from the blanket tax that allows me to legally download their music for free, but then again if this action would be illegal I'd still do it.

    I will break any and all laws that satisfy my little formulae with some added weights: (how strong I feel about the issue)*(my moral status on the issue) - (risk of punishment)*(severity of punishment) >= 0.

    If a given action is legal and I'm morally okay about it, I'll do it. If it is illegal, it depends on how much I'm willing to sacrifice for the cause. Not all laws should be followed and there are laws that are just morally wrong. I use my own judgement primarily and I do not follow the law without thinking. That leads to facism.
  • Re:5 more years (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:48PM (#22709992) Journal

    In 2013 the sound recording copyrights expire..

    On the earliest recordings from 1962. It's going to take until another seven years for the bulk of the catalog to expire.

    But let's also remember that there is a substantial amount of unreleased material sitting in the vaults, by all accounts hundreds of hours of alternate takes. That probably won't help with the early stuff (1962-1964), but by 1965 they were doing a lot of studio work, and that probably means all sorts of alternate instrumental and vocal takes. You can be damned sure that we're going to start seeing new versions of songs from Rubber Soul right on through Abbey Road. There are still a few unreleased songs that didn't appear on the Anthology series as well.

    Now I may be wrong, but I'll wager if you pop out a new mix of I Am The Walrus or Dear Prudence with previously unreleased recordings, you're probably going to reset that clock. And, Let It Be Naked aside (which I understand didn't sell so well), this kind of stuff still sells quite well. Look at Love.

    I don't think they would ever make the kind of money they made during the real heyday of successful Beatles released and re-releases during the 60s and 70s, but it's my understanding that Anthology alone refilled Harrison's and Starr's coffers, and even made Pete Best (whose drumming appears on a good part of the first Anthology set) a moderately wealthy man.

    There's still gold in them thar hills. And that's not assuming that Parliament doesn't reverse itself and give has-beens like Cliff Richards a bazillion year extension.
  • by sneakyimp ( 1161443 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:37PM (#22710496)
    Yes but how does AAPL recoup that payment if they are only making a fraction of the total cost of each download and AAPL is only a fraction of the total market for beatles music? If they make 10 cents each, that's 4 billion downloads of beatles music. If they make 1 cent each, that's 40 billion downloads of beatles music. If we assume 100 million ipods in circulation and AAPL making 10 cents each, that means that every single ipod user has to download 40 beatles songs. If it's 1 cent per song for AAPL, that means 400 songs per ipod.

    If, on the other hand, it's a lump sum and AAPL keeps all the revenue from beatles record sales, it's a very reasonable proposition.

    As for the net worth of Sir Paul and company, keep in mind that their net worth also included later records, movies, touring and many other sources -- including his lame paintings.
  • Re:Bad joke. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:05PM (#22710712)
    I agree. I don't get the Beatles thing at all. I agree with Michael Stipe of REM, who referred to their music as "elevator music". Maybe it was ground breaking at the time, but it doesn't hold up.

    In classical music there is the phenomenon that often when new styles began, the composers doing the new style were not so hot. After the style matured, the music got better. Early Baroque, classical and romantic music are examples. Although I guess Beethoven was a pretty damn good bridge between classical and romantic style.
  • Re:Bad joke. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bogjobber ( 880402 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:57PM (#22711940)

    I can see how someone might not like their earlier, boy band stuff, or their later period experimental tripe. I don't care for a lot of it myself. But it's completely incomprehensible for me for someone to entirely dismiss the Beatles. I know you're probably not a music critic, but I'd be interested in some more explicit reasons why you don't like the Beatles.

    Also, what type of music do you like? I imagine you don't like pop songs that much, but I would be *very* interested to hear your point of view if you like pop/early rock music but dislike the Beatles.

    Here are some Beatles clips, because I can.

    Eleanor Rigby [youtube.com]

    Twist and Shout [youtube.com]

    In My Life [youtube.com]

    With a Little Help from My Friends [youtube.com]

    Help! [youtube.com]

    Ticket to Ride [youtube.com]

    Norwegian Wood [youtube.com]

    Here Comes the Sun [youtube.com]

    Hey Jude [youtube.com]

    Yesterday [youtube.com]

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:26AM (#22712458)
    "Copyright is not property, it is a license for a monopoly. "

    All property is a government enforced monopoly. In this regard, IP is no different.

    "create derivative works"

    Copyright does not bar derivative works, though it does limit them. You may have noticed that it is extremely common in pop culture to reference or spoof other works which are still protected by copyright.

    "a short copyright term would still allow the vast majority of profits to be made from a given copyrighted work"

    Do you have any reason to make this claim? It seems. . . unlikely to be true. In any case I believe a creator is entitled to the entirety of the profit, not a portion of it according you your determination.

    "I will not shoot you unless you give me all your money"

    You may be surprised to learn this, but threatening to murder someone is highly illegal. Refusing to give someone something for free is not. I think you are the one playing word games.

    "the author should hand the work back to society where it came from"

    This is the same kind of nonsense people are always spewing about rich or lucky people. You feel entitled to the fruits of their labor, so you play the victim. Oh, if it weren't for society, they never would have made their work, so they should have no say in how it is used. That is bullshit. It is their choice what they will do with what they've created, not yours. If you're so smart that you know what to do with it better than they do, then how come you didn't come up with the idea? It should be the creators choice, and if they choose to sell it, I see nothing wrong with that.

    If people will pay for it, it is a net benefit society. You should be grateful for that, not greedily demanding that they give it to you for free.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner