There’s something remarkably ironic in today’s news that iTunes will begin selling Beatles songs. Paul McCartney released a statement saying in part, “We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes. It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around.”
The comment is risible for the leader of a band that for so many years defined the musical avant garde but now acts more like a quaint anachronism. Itunes launched in January 2001 and earlier this year commemorated its 10 billionth music download. Yet only now are the songs that once defined rock’s leading edge available. In short, it’s long past the time that legions of Beatles fans have grabbed Abbey Road or Magical Mystery Tour off Limewire.
That said, no one likes a curmudgeon so it’s worth a shout-out to the best aspect of today’s announcement, namely the availability of the 1964 Live at Washington Coliseum concert. As Randy Lewis at the LA Times describes it, the concert was “never before released officially.” Loose translation: All you had to do before today was to fire up gnutella.