So Apple, Inc. (fka Apple Computer, Inc.) now owns the wittily-named Apple Corps - the Beatles' corporate vehicle. The computer/media company paid $500 million for the privilege, confirming once more the insanity of Macca's choice to remain a UK taxpayer ("Ta la'", says Gideon) and filling a gaping hole in the iTunes Music Store.
Of course I have every Beatles track (at least once) in my iTunes already. I was mugged replacing my LPs with cassettes and my cassettes with CDs and will not be mugged again. I supose however there may be someone in the world who will think it worth paying again to have a version they can't copy freely.
Apple is pushing hard "exclusive content" that can only be had by paying £125 for the "boxed set" download of the complete works. I guess that might work for some. Shouldn't there be a sexier name for that, by the way? An iSet perhaps? The timing of the long-delayed legal settlement may be a prudent way for the Beatles and their heirs to enjoy the last faint hurrah of a fab financial run, for the attraction of the music finally seems to be fading.
Brits of my vintage were all Stones or Beatles fans (few were both). There was a time, not so long ago, when a day never passed without my listening to their music. Perhaps the 1990s association with a Mancunian(!) tribute act tainted it for me. Or perhaps, unlike the Porsche 911, it was only so far ahead of its time and destined for the fate of Morecambe & Wise (good once, then suddenly not). Perhaps the Beatles were only ever really special for not being the bands that came before them. Still, I will always love "Yesterday" - invaluable if you want to start a sing-song in a remote, language-challenged bar.
I remember mass playground fights (all very amiable and character-forming) between fans of Paul and John at my infants school. The Ringo/George factions were forced to choose sides in this physical debate and of course the girls cheered on the avatars for Paul. Few girls liked John. How else do you think such a rich man ended up with Yoko? At that age however, the boys liked him for the fact the girls found him as yucky as we found them.
We were used to binary choices. Where I grew up, even the (very quiet and well-behaved) Man United fans had to state a preference between Liverpool and Everton. Our Shanklyite head teacher was very hard on those rash enough to choose the latter. Politics was binary too, of course. You could be Labour, or you could be posh Tory scum. Not too long after choosing John and Liverpool FC, I chose Maoism as a way (irony of ironies) to assert my individuality. Thank goodness I escaped to find life's choices are not always either or.
I wonder if Paul and Ringo will thank the clever lawyers who negotiated an end to their 1991 court battle? As part of that settlement, they bound Steve Jobs' company contractually never to go into the music business. 10% of the price Jobs paid for their company might be a reasonable honorarium for the farthest-sighted chaps in the law.
They might even like to apply the iTunes conversion rate for sterling to that.