Why The Beatles on iTunes is Big News

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files

Technology is constantly evolving, making information easier to access and offering entertainment in whole new platforms unfathomable even ten years ago. So why is everyone going nuts about iTunes latest release of music from The Beatles? Because Apple Inc. and The Beatles have not always seen eye to eye, and the world’s largest online music database never offered the most legendary band in the history of music in their database until now, according to a Huffington Post article.

Apple is obviously excited about the new release of Beatles music, which includes “the group’s 13 legendary remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs, the two-volume ‘Past Masters’ compilation and the classic ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ collections are available for purchase and download on iTunes worldwide as either albums or individual songs. Fans can also get a special digital ‘Beatles Box Set’ featuring the ‘Live at Washington Coliseum, 1964′ concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert.”

According to an article by the Washington Post, “The Beatles-iTunes agreement represents a watershed in a fraught, decades-long relationship between two of the biggest icons in their respective fields. The two sides have traded lawsuits since 1978, when the Beatles alleged that the computer maker, incorporated as Apple Computer in 1977, infringed on the band’s trademark in the name and logo of Apple Corps.”

On further research, it seems that The Beatles never wanted Apple Inc. to offer music at all. The Beatles started their own music conglomerate in the 60’s called Apple Corps, pronounced Apple Core, which is obviously a pun. In the beginning, Apple Inc. was sued by The Beatles’ Apple Corps for trademark infringement and won the settlement, convincing Apple Computers to stay out of the music business permanently. Apple Inc. was then sued again when in the late 80’s they started offering their computers with the compatibility to play back MIDI music, which was a violation of their previous lawsuit. In 2003, The Beatles’ Apple Corps sued them again for developing iTunes and the iPod. Once again Apple lost the case.

The question that arises in the midst of all of this Beatles/Apple Inc. conflict is why in God’s name would Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. even want to consider doing any business with The Beatles at all? Obviously, it boils down to money. Despite Steve Job’s statement “We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” the thirty-year feud in which Apple Corps bombarded Apple Inc. with lawsuits over petty differences makes Steve Job’s statement either commendably humble, or as a business owner he simply realizes this will only make his iTunes store more complete and profitable. After being sued for so long, I guess that I too would be pretty excited to finally start making money off the company that kept putting their hands into my proverbial pocket.

The real kicker here is that anyone who is a big Beatles fan, myself included, already has all of The Beatles music in some format or another. All I had to do to get them on my iPod was upload their albums into my iTunes.

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