A day before the Beatles music announcement on their website Apple posted a message on their home page that read “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget”. It was a very smart line used by Apple which caused a lot of anxiety among the media and Apple fans. Tech journalists went on a frenzy race to be the first to guess what the announcement would be. One thing was clear that since Apple had an Apple event not more than a month back where they announced the new Mac book Air, Mac OS Lion, ilLife 11 and Mac App store above others, it was very unlikely that this was going to be another major announcement. In spite of this you could see speculations that were at extremes. Moreover, the message also said “Check back here tomorrow for an exciting announcement from iTunes” which made it clear that it had to be something within iTunes.
On the following day, Apple announces arrival of Beatles on iTunes. This was an exclusive deal signed with Apple where the digital music of Beatles would be available on iTunes only until end of 2010.
The announcement did not go well with the tech journalists as they had expected a bigger announcement than this! To be fair with Apple they did not send out invites and neither did they send press releases about the announcement. It is their site and they are allowed to put up such a message to create excitement among their customers. Does this not happen with every small or big retail shop that you know on the high street? So, then why is it such a big deal if Apple chooses to write something on their website?!
There are a couple of things that need to be brought to notice here. One is that all the tech journalists played the announcement down and made fun of the hype created by Apple stating Beatles music was not such a big deal and that everyone who wanted to own their music already owns it by now. This is one statement that speaks volumes about the current lot of journalists. Who for them represents a sample of music lovers that Apple is trying to reach? Tech journalist themselves? It is very likely that each one of them would have a copy of Beatles already, but it does not mean that everyone who logs on to the Apple site and iTunes also owns it. The tech journalists have it because they are supposed to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adaptation of technology and in this case ripping their disc in to a digital copy.
It is one week since the announcement now and Apple has sold 2,000,000 copies of Beatles songs and 450,000 copies of various albums on iTunes already! Various Beatles albums have been on the top 50 of iTunes since the time their music have been announced on iTunes .
Lets go back to the statement that Apple put on their site and why is it that it is a big deal for them? Here are a few points that I think are key to the announcement and will help put things to perspective.
1) It is not just another band. It is ‘THE BEATLES”
2) It has been well known that Steve jobs himself has been pursuing to get Beatles on iTunes for almost five years and finally he did.
3) The music industry is a bit weird in terms of licensing and royalty and thus has been holding back on some major releases away from digital media, specially the ones they thought were making money through CD sales. Beatles AC/DC, Metallica, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin are a few that come to mind immediately. Getting “the king” among all to iTunes is a big statement for the rest of the industry and the artists that are still holding back. “A day you’ll never forget”
4) 2 million copies of songs and 450K albums sale in a week speaks volumes for itself
5) By bringing their music to the digital media(iTunes) it only helps the Beatles to ensure that their music passes on from one generation to the other. Not all youngsters would have a collection of Beatles but they surely would like to download and hear few classics that suit their taste.
6) Lastly, we hope it is the end of the sage of Beatles corporation “Apple Corps” that sued Apple Computers in 1981 for trademark infringement and a case that got settled only in February 2007.