Speaking of John Lennon’s haircut, Apple (the computer company) finally made a deal with Apple (the record company) and the entire Beatles catalogue is now on iTunes. Even as one of the world’s biggest Beatle fans, I will go on record to say Apple’s teaser page was a mistake:
Claiming you’ll “never forget” news that big is kind of crazy, especially given the kind of batshit culture we’re in, but I took it as part of Steve Jobs’ personal love for the band. By the way, I figured it had to be the Beatles announcement because of the “another day” reference… Another Day (1971) was Paul’s first solo song, derided savagely by John on How Do You Sleep? later that year – basically, two geniuses having a spat that ended in reconciliation, a little like the two Apple companies themselves.
But what was the reaction to the Beatles finally coming to iTunes? Unmitigated, cast-iron, vituperative SNARK. You’ve never seen such cockful disdain amongst the digiterati, and surfing the comment sections of articles like this or this show how angry your internet-dominating friends are about it. From “A Bajillion Hits” we get this piece of comedy and the always-too-cool Gawker has an article called Why You’re Too Cool for the Beatles on iTunes, in which they make fun of people who are too cool for it, while also stating why they’re too cool for it.
Before I begin my rant, I’d like to go back to “A Bajillion Hits” and copy, verbatim, their self-description from the site:
BajillionHits.biz is the Internet’s leading social media and tech lifestyle site for influencing influencers with engaging, next-gen strat that’s disrupting the traditional paradigms of innovation… @BajillionHits will help you learn how to win the Internet many times over.
Okay, fine. I’ve had to write paragraphs like this for companies as well. Catchwords, energy-driven text, outside-the-box fetishism, I totally get it. And yes, I also understand all the internet techno-fanboys wanted something “better” from Apple, like “streaming from the cloud” and “iOS 4.2 for the iPad”.
But what is lost is this: the Beatles are exactly what started all of this in the first place. Long before the internet reduced all creative writing, music and art to the word “content”… there were the Beatles, four broke lads living inside themselves, unwittingly erasing the blackboard of modern music and rewriting it with absolutely no musical training.
They weren’t the only ones, of course, but they brought rock music into the realm of art, and indirectly (or directly) spawned almost every band you love today. Either way, they helped make pop music important enough to carry around on… well, your “content” delivery device, be it a Walkman, an iPod, an Android, or the Next Big Thing everyone was waiting for.
Bajillion Hits might be “disrupting paradigms with next-gen strat”, but without the actual creators of beautiful things, all of this tech shit is empty, rare-earth-metal sucking garbage. Without artists, there is nothing to put in the “cloud”, there is nothing to download, there is no reason to get version 4.2 of ANYTHING.
Without “Modern Family”, “Hey Ya”, “Mad Men”, “Inception”, Wilco, Phoenix, “Wall-E”, and the White Album, there is no goddamned reason in the world to own a fucking iPad, or an iPod, or any media delivery mechanism. These internet commenters, with their high dander and seen-it-already boredom, are the definition of spiritual death.
They don’t understand that the Beatles being on iTunes is a big deal to those who aren’t sprinting alongside them, a whole generation of kids who aren’t interested in the dice-roll world of torrenting, and are happy to buy things if they are available and inexpensive. They are the massive part of the market that perhaps Steve Jobs understands, and if the entire decade-long catalog of Beatles songs are now available to them, then maybe it will be the same as when my brother Kent gave me Rubber Soul when I was 11 – a day I will never forget.