Finally, The Beatles have been sucked completely dry, and iTunes is the sucker. With The Beatles featured in their own Rock Band video game, having their music covered in a hit film and almost every other gimmick done in their name, it only makes sense Apple would take the last bite out of Apple Record’s juicy green band.
That may be a little dramatic, as I’m sure big companies will find plenty of other ways to take advantage of The Beatles in the future, but personally, I’m sick of seeing their name in association with big-business tactics. The Beatles sold out a long time ago, but it seems to be the only band who can continue doing it 40 years after breaking up and two members’ deaths.
Growing up, I refused to listen to The Beatles, claiming the few songs I had heard were nothing special and it was overrated as a band. But I also refused to listen to Nirvana for similar reasons, so it says more about my own naivete as a child than the bands themselves. But later on in my musical evolution, I discovered that hype is sometimes, albeit rarely, correlated to quality.
“Abbey Road” is now a permanent emotional installment in my few memories of high school. Listening to “The End” still gives me goosebumps and intense nostalgia, usually leading me to do something stupid in an attempt to relive my senior year of high school.
So why am I so upset about the gods of pop-rock having their tunes available to everybody on iTunes for the first time?
Nobody sits and thinks about the effects of converting music into a digital format. When you’re strutting your stuff, the latest iPod plugged into one ear, an iPhone glued to the other, you’re not experiencing music as it was meant to be experienced. Perhaps you are not experiencing it at all.
The MP3 format of music (and similar audio encoding formats) are nothing more than a computer’s interpretation of actual sounds. Basically, you are listening to what a computer thinks you will think sounds like your new Nelly album — taking out certain frequencies to reduce the size of the file and reducing the quality of the music experience.
I eat bologna, but it doesn’t mean I think it’s at all good for me. I’m under no illusion it is anywhere near a juicy T-bone steak. But it’s cheap, convenient and filling.
That is all iTunes provides for music fans: cheap, convenient and filling music. It’s not all Apple’s fault though; We as consumers keep stooping lower and lower, demanding smaller and sleeker imitations of real experiences. And in the process of doing so, we miss out on what we were intended to experience.