On Nov. 16, Apple began offering songs from the entire Beatles catalogue, ending years of the super-group holding out on digital downloading. But some listeners still like to read the information the physical packaging provides.
Eleanor Rigby picked up the rice where her wedding had been. Now she can also pick up the rest of The Beatles catalogue on iTunes.
On Nov. 16, Apple began offering songs from the entire Beatles catalogue along with 13 remastered studio albums, thus ending years of the super-group holding out on digital downloading.
iTunes users can now purchase 13 remastered studio albums by The Beatles from the Apple Store. A two-volume “Past Masters” set and the “Red” and “Blue” collections are also available, along with an Apple-exclusive digital box set that features live concert footage. Of course, individual songs can also be purchased for $1.29 each.
How the offering is received remains to be seen.
Andy Nguyen of Downers Grove, Ill., is an iTunes user but prefers to hold something in his hands before listening to it. He said the Beatles on iTunes is nothing to get excited about.
“To me, personally, I traditionally like to buy CDs or records,” Nguyen said. “I like to hold on to something. I like to get the whole package.”
The package he speaks about is cover art and liner notes. Nguyen said he likes to read the information the physical packaging provides. Besides, he added, iTunes can get pricey.
“You’re looking at $1.29 per song,” Nguyen said. “I can go to a used record store and get an album for seven bucks.”
Still, the Beatles being offered on iTunes is not without merit.
“It’s a good way to introduce The Beatles to younger listeners,” Nguyen said.
John McGuire, of Downers Grove, Ill., is also an iTunes guy that is not all that enthusiastic about The Beatles being offered via cyberspace.
“Unfortunately, I have all The Beatles CDs already,” McGuire said.
Michael Cheney is a professor of economics, communication and liberal studies and a senior fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. He also teaches a class called The Beatles: popular music and society.
Cheney, a veritable storehouse of knowledge for anything Beatles, said the long wait for online purchasing for the group’s music is not unusual.
“One of the things that has characterized Apple Corp. (the record label founded by The Beatles in 1968) is that they always wanted to come forward with a quality product, but they are not going to be first in terms of a new format,” Cheney said. “The Beatles were not the first to be putting out music on CDs. When they did it was so-so. They weren’t there when CD quality really came into its own.”
Some attribute the long delay to artistic reasons, that The Beatles would consider it a sellout and an affront to their art. Cheney suggested other, more practical reasons for the reticence.
“I think they would see that as a way to extend their music,” Cheney said. “They were also always interested in maximizing their return on musical and movie products.”
Christopher Grey, co-owner of Platterpus Records in Addison, Ill., deals in new and used vinyl only. As for old Beatles albums, Grey said they are “extremely popular” among both young and old people.
“That’s the amazing thing about the Beatles: it’s across the board,” Grey said. “We have bi-monthly warehouse sales and it’s amazing to see kids as young as 10 and 12 coming in to buy Beatles stuff. Even to see college and high school kids buying vinyl.”
There still is an allure of vinyl that aficionados cannot resist, Grey said.
“I think there is something about the art work, something tangible to hold, something that can be collected as opposed to just being stored on the hard drive,” Grey said.