Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The Beatles Don’t Want You to Steal Music. But They Still Won’t Sell It Anywhere but iTunes. (Video)

The Beatles don’t want you to steal music, so their estate is cooperating with “Music Matters,” a U.K.-based antipiracy campaign. Here’s a video using the band’s music, one of a series of clips featuring different artists.

If you wanted to get into it, you could have an interesting debate in which someone argues that caring about music isn’t always analogous to paying for recorded music. But whatever. For now, let’s stipulate that the “don’t take stuff that isn’t yours” sentiment is a good one.

That said: Not to be too be churlish, but if the Beatles and the people who control their music don’t want you to steal, shouldn’t they make their music widely available online?

As you may recall, last fall the band’s music finally became available in legal digital form, via an iTunes exclusive. And now, 10 months later, Apple’s store remains the only place you can buy Abbey Road, Let I Be, Revolver, etc. You can’t buy them via Amazon, and you can’t hear them via subscription services like Spotify, MOG, etc.

Online music exclusives aren’t unusual, but they’re usually very short. I’ve never heard of an act locking itself to one digital outlet for this long. And if you don’t want people to steal stuff, it would make sense to make it as easy to buy as possible, no?

If the Apple exclusive lasts a year, then it should expire in mid-November. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it lasts through the end of 2011 and possibly beyond, so that Steve Jobs and company can wring the benefits of another Christmas sales cycle: Remember that lots of iTunes content gets purchased right after the holidays, when people have new gadgets to play with/fill up.

Meanwhile, the Music Matters clips have some great animation, at the very least. You can see a collection of them at this YouTube channel. Here’s a sampling featuring the Jam, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z (couple NSFW swears on that last one).


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