Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Don't let me DOWN-load.

As a lifelong Beatles fan, I of course have my opinions on today's happenings. I admit I have already got all of the tracks which were offered for sale, and many more besides. Bootlegs are readily available online, and also for sale in CD format at the annual Beatles Convention in Liverpool. However, I jumped for joy at the thought of being able to own a legal version of these rare tracks, especially knowing they'd be tidied up and would therefore be of better quality than the copies of copies of 50 year old tapes. I understand the cynical side of this release, and wouldn't be surprised if I was to be told that the recent change in legislation, given its impeccable timing, is heavily influenced if not totally driven by The Beatles. Knowing this, I was still keen to buy my copy. I excitedly logged into iTunes this morning, only to find no trace of the album, and no evidence it had yet been released in the UK although there were rumours to suggest that it had been released in the middle of the night for a matter of minutes. A series of tweets and internet searches followed, and I was still none the wiser. Just before I was due to leave the house for work, I saw an article on the BBC site stating that the album would be released later today and that it would be available indefinitely as opposed to the initial plan to release it for as little time as humanly possible. I felt that either it was a bizarre PR stunt or it was Apple buckling under pressure from fans as it was upsetting and alienating a lot of people. Sure enough, around 3pm this afternoon, I found that the download was available. Now I've paid my £34, in the knowledge that fans in other parts of Europe paid 9.99 Euros, and having seen it at $12.99 NZD on New Zealand's site, I have to come to the one of two conclusions, neither of which are particularly savoury. Either it was a strange ploy to get us all worked up so we'd gratefully pay anything and everything for the downloads OR The blue meanies stamped their feet and decided that "OK...you fans can have the material if you want it that badly...but you are going to have to pay for it." Both thoughts are disappointing to say the least. That said, nothing is Beatle-proof.