Yesterday Apple put up a very simple message on their website:
I looked at it and said to my wife “iTunes is getting The Beatles finally.” Apple (computer) fans world wide started the usual hyper-rumor-mill-of-speculation. Every writer was saying Apple would announce the product/feature/content that they personally were most hoping for. The iPad forums were sure it was the announcement of iOS 4.2 being released. Music lovers were confident it was the heavily rumored music streaming service. Some even guessed it might be some new hardware announcement just before the holidays.
I won’t bore you with why my own speculation was for The Beatles music library coming to iTunes. The point is, now we know that is what it was all about. And for many people it is a very important day. I think for Apple (Inc.) it is the cap on their dominance in the music marketplace. The Beatles have been the biggest hold out against music downloads. The Beatles are the biggest selling musical group in history. For Steve Jobs this has been the cherry on his perfect sundae.
Of course, there were a number of people who were surprised and some who were disappointed. Kids who couldn’t care less about the history of Rock music, grown ups who stopped listening to music, and everyone who wanted something else from Apple.
Personally I find that while I am very happy that this deal has finally come to fruition, I already owned the collections (stereo and mono) on CD. I still think this is a very important day for those who see digital content being the future. As much as the RIAA and a lot of record labels would like to believe that digital downloads are a fad and we will all go back to buying music on CDs, it just ain’t so.
The Beatles on iTunes is important for some fans of the music. I think it is more important as a symbolic gesture. It is Apple saying to those companies who are holding out against digital music download: “You can’t stop the signal. We have The Beatles and if you don’t change your thinking you are in danger of becoming irrelevant to the industry.”
Congratulations to Apple (Inc. and Corps) for finally getting this together.