Happy 10th Birthday iTunes
The 10-year-old digital music store, iTunes – which labels itself as being the world’s best online source for buying music – has recently signed a contract allowing them to sell the music of The Beatles.
According to monstersandcritics.com, the deal ended a long-standing hold out by the band, who didn’t like the idea of their music being available for purchase online.
The Beatles are not the only successful act to feel this way as music from the likes of AC/DC, Kid Rock, and American country musician Garth Brooks are also unavailable on iTunes.
“We're really excited to bring The Beatles to iTunes,” said Sir Paul McCartney.
“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.”
Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, said: “We love The Beatles and are honoured and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes. It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to The Beatles and EMI, we are now realising a dream we've had since we launched iTunes 10 years ago.”
So what does this new arrival of the old say about the world of music downloading?
As reported by the BBC, this move is not as widely welcomed by all.
Mark Mulligan, an analyst with research firm Forrester, said: "The fact that securing the content of a band old enough to be most young music fans' grandfathers is a sad reflection of the state of the digital music market.
"The digital music market needs new music products, not yesteryear's hits repackaged."
Arts London News asked some University of the Arts London (UAL) students what they thought about the sudden U-turn on The Beatles and whether these larger-than-life bands are standing in the way of up-and-coming musicians.
“I was pretty taken aback when I first heard that The Beatles music is only now available for download on iTunes, but apparently it was the band's idea to block their music in the first place,” said London College of Fashion student, Machayla Hugh-Sutton.
“I must admit it makes you realise that the store isn’t as accessible as we’re made to believe.
“There are lots of really other great bands and solo artists who are doing well in the underground scene but struggle to gain mainstream success,” continued Machayla.
“You could definitely attribute this to the limited amount of distribution made available to them.”
Lee Blinkers, a London College of Communication student and lead singer of the unsigned grime act No Hate, echoes Machayla’s point: “Trying to get local radio to play your music is one thing, not to think imagining a big player like iTunes will ever start providing a platform for potential fans to download my music.
“I’m disappointed that Sir Paul and the other guys gave into commercialism. It just makes the plight more difficult for unsigned acts.”
In 2008, X Factor winner Alexandra Burke had the fastest selling download ever in Europe.
You would have to be a fool not to realise that singing week-in, week-out on a reality television show that can attract up to 14 million viewers has its benefits.
Her debut single Hallelujah managed to shift 105,000 copies in one day and her predecessor Leona Lewis’s 2007 ballad Bleeding Love holds ninth place in the 10 most downloaded iTunes songs of all time, according to aolradioblog.com.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reports that up to 95 per cent of music downloads are illegal, which they conclude in turn erodes investment and sales of local music in major markets.
The next ten years seem grey for musicians who do not appear on reality television programmes.
Although The Beatles have joined the dichotomy that is the digital music world, other acts stand firm in refusing to sign on the dotted line.
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young was quoted in The Telegraph: "We don't make singles, we make albums."
He went on to explain this statement: “If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album – and we don't think that represents us musically."
Sharing the same sentiment, country artist Garth Brooks told The Telegraph: “They truly think that they're saving music. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it.
“Until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won't see my stuff on there."