Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hello, Goodbye! The Beatles Come to iTunes, and Now We Can All Move On

If you checked in with the Twittersphere last night, you might think that getting the world’s biggest band into the world’s biggest music store is a bad thing. Cue the jaded digerati complaining that the Beatles to iTunes news is a yawn.

And let’s be clear: Getting the band’s stuff on Apple’s store won’t fundamentally change anything.

And look. It’s cool that the band will be on iTunes. It’s embarrassing that it hasn’t been, but now that we’re past this, we can just consider the-better-late-than-never move a “pivot,” right? Fundamentally: More good music, available more places, is a good thing.

The thing I’m most interested to learn this morning (or whenever we do find out) is whether you’ll be able to buy the band’s output on a song-by-song basis. [UPDATE: Answered.]

If the band is trying to maximize revenue, it would try to force Jobs to break from store policy and sell their music in only album format. But that would be hypocritical, since the Beatles, like most other bands of their era, were about singles for a very long time.

And wouldn’t it be cool if you’d never heard “Flying” before, and then someone played you the trippy instrumental track from “Magical Mystery Tour,” and then, $1.29 later, you could be walking around with the tune in your iPod? Right?

What’s that? You’ve never heard “Flying” before? No problem: You can hear it on YouTube, of course:

And if you’re looking for other Beatles songs, Google’s video site is happy to oblige. They’ve even made a 41-song mix for you. No credit card required.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik