[Disclaimer: I’m going to spend as many (i.e., few) words writing about this development as it deserves.]

So finally Apple gets the Beatles catalogue Steve Jobs has been pining for.

Thank goodness that is out of the way; now we can focus on important developments.

The fact that securing the content of a band old enough to be most young music fans’ grandfathers (and some) is a sad reflection of the state of the digital music market.

Yes, it will be a success. Yes, we’ll have numerous Beatle #1’s (probably including at Christmas).  But that’s just further depressing evidence of the old geezer skew of digital music buyers.

The digital music market (and the young music fans that record labels desperately need to get engaged) needs new music products, not yesteryear’s hits repackaged.

So, congratulations Steve on finally getting your Beatles catalogue; now can you please turn your attention to innovating your digital music services.


For those of you who have come here to defend the fab four's musical legacy I am reposting my comment from deep in the midst of the comment torrent…


To be clear…

…my blog post is not about the Beatles, it is about the digital music market. (Some of you did pick up on this).

For what it's worth, I love the Beatles. I was brought up on them. My dad used to be in a band at the same time and even played in the Cavern. My first music experiences were leafing through my dad's complete Beatles vinyl collection (singles and albums). My mum is from Liverpool and still has a 'get well soon' card signed by the fab four. I used to play Beatles covers in my school band. The Beatles defined modern pop music and Lennon and McCartney are unsurpassed as a songwriting duo. Etc etc etc ad infinitum.

But that IS NOT what this is about!! This is about the fact that getting the Beatles onto iTunes has been the biggest, longest running saga in the digital music space for far too long. It really is not a big deal for the digital music space.

This blog is focused on discussions about digital content business models. It's not Rolling Stone or Billlboard. I'm not a music critic, I'm a content business analyst.

Thank you all for your comments and it's great to see that the Beatles still trigger such passion and emotion in people. And so they should. Which is why, as I said in my original post, these downloads will sell. They'll even bring EMI some welcome revenue.

But that's of little relevance to the long term viability of the digital music market.

Like it or loathe it, kids prefer Pirate Bay to iTunes. And unless that changes the music industry will change too. Much for the worse. A demographic time bomb is ticking. Unless a new wave of relevant music products is brought to market that engage young music fans the market will shrink to such a stage that the likelihood of any another Beatles making it beyond their Pete Best stage, let along their Hamburg stage are small.

So, fantastic to hear so many people like the Beatles just like I do, but this is still not news of lasting importance for the digital music business.