Apple’s Dirty Not-So-Little Secret

Update: iTunes Welcomes The Beatles Catalog

It’s official, the dirty, not so little secret is out.  The Beatles have landed on iTunes.  As of 10am this morning, all 13 Beatles albums could be found in the iTunes store.  With this major acquisition by the digital industry giant, many questions have been raised,  including why now?  Apple has been attempting to add the Beatles to their extensive database since the emergence of the digital age.  What factors have now led to its availability?

One Idea: The Beatles catalog is owned by EMI, who has been in the headlines in recent weeks (see our previous posts on EMI) for their owner’s legal dispute with citibank. Why would they give in now?  After their recent legal defeat, could Terra Firma/EMI be freeing up the Beatles’ catalog in a desperate attempt for some much needed cash? Could this be Guy Hands and EMI’s last ditch effort to save the company? Let us know what you think this could mean in the comments section below.

Original Article:
The Internet is abuzz with speculation as to what Apple is planning to announce tomorrow. The cryptic message on their home page says exactly this: “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget. Check back here tomorrow for an exciting announcement from iTunes.” Hmmmm. Guesses have ranged all over the place, from the educated to the hilarious. Maybe Apple is finally catching up with the times and releasing a cloud based streaming service. Maybe The Beatles’ catalog is finally gracing the iTunes store front. Or, as one commenter suggested, maybe they’re just reverting back to the older, better iTunes icon.

Whatever it is, it’s looking to be big. For one, Apple rarely teases customers like this. Most of their news leaks out in the form of rumors; they never take the time to dedicate their entire home page to such an effort. Also, it’s going to be big because the same teaser screen is visible in multiple countries, meaning that it will be a global effort. TechCrunch is under the impression it has something to do with streaming, and wrote about the potential consequences if that were to be in the article below. Check it out, and let us know what you think will happen tomorrow at 10 AM EST over in Cupertino!


(TechCrunch) Will Apple Kill The MP3 Tomorrow?

Credit: Nicholas Deleon

Apple has posted a cryptic message on its Web site, teasing the world about an “exciting” iTunes announcement that’s coming tomorrow. What could it be? I saw that someone had suggested The Beatles were finally coming to iTunes, but really, who cares? If you want The Beatles on your iPhone you can grab the newly remastered albums that came out last year, “rip, mix, burn,” then off you go. Not very exciting, no. What could be exciting, though, is a streaming music service. In an instant, Apple would have killed the MP3 once and for all. You hear that? That’s the sound of the RIAA thanking Apple over and over again.

A streaming music service would make all kinds of sense for Apple, and it wouldn’t be too bad for us consumers either. Streaming services have already seen much success, chiefly with Spotify in Europe and Rdio here in the U.S. But an iTunes Streaming service, probably given a slick name like “iTunes Stream,” would instantly take the idea of streaming from something only techie geeks care about to something the whole family can enjoy.

Think about it. Every song ever (deals with record labels permitting, of course), right there on youriPhone, your iPad, your Apple TV, your MacBook, on-demand and always at the ready. If you can access the Internet (“the Cloud”), then you can listen to your tunes.

And just like that, your MP3s are worthless. Why would you maintain a giant collection of hard drive-eating MP3 and AAC (the file format iTunes uses) files when you can access the same songs from a handy App?

Let’s see… gigabytes upon gigabytes of music files versus a single App that can stream any song with the touch of a button. Well, the touch of a screen, as it were.

It’s a no-brainer, and everybody wins.

Apple collects $10 per month (or whatever) from you, you get access to an entire Cloud’s worth of music, and the record labels no longer have to worry about pesky kids “trading files” any more. Not because illegally trading iTunes-purchased music was ever a problem for the record labels, but that iTunes Stream would represent a very clear change in the culture of music consumption. Kids wanting to listen to Kanye West’s “Monster” won’t think to look for an “MP3,” they’ll grow up learning to fire up iTunes Stream on their iPhone.

I can see audiophiles not particularly caring about any of this, complaining about the compression used in the streaming, never thinking to listen to music on a phone, but the number of people who listen to 24bit lossless vinyl rips (give me FLAC or give me death!) using Foobar2000 and $500 headphones is non-existent compared to people who are cool with listening to Nicki Minaj on YouTube (read: rubbish quality) using $10 earbuds.

And now we play the waiting game, waiting for Apple to kill the MP3 once and for all.


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