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Attempt To "Digitalize" Beatles Goes Sour 434

Posted by timothy
from the when-you're-64-and-probably-not-even-then dept.
An anonymous reader points to this article at exclaim.ca, which begins "Just when Beatles fans thought the band were finally going digital, the Norwegian national broadcaster has been forced to call off the deal. Broadcasting company NRK has had to remove a series of 212 podcasts, each of which featured a different Beatles song and would have effectively allowed fans to legally download the entire Fab Four catalogue for free."
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Attempt To "Digitalize" Beatles Goes Sour

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  • by MightyMait (787428) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:23PM (#26380661) Journal

    Recently, Paul McCartney said negotiations to get the Fab Four onto iTunes had âoestalled,â leaving some fans more than a little ticked that they still have to listen to the band the old-fashioned way.

    What's "the old-fashioned way"? Bit-Torrent?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:27PM (#26380695)

    For a group closely associated with peace, love and everything good about 60s and 70s counterculture, the Beatles (and their heirs/hangers on/rights holders) certainly seem to behave like craven corporate shills.

    Personally I find them to be tremendously overrated too, and not a patch on many of their contemporaries (Pink Floyd, Dylan, Hendrix, The Animals, etc etc etc). Sgt Peppers was rather good though.

  • by grapeape (137008) <`moc.rr.ck' `ta' `7epopm'> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:30PM (#26380729) Homepage

    The only ones hurt by the Beatles not being on iTunes and other services are the remaining members. Those that want the Beatles either rip their own cd's or just snag them from torrents. Led Zeppelin finally relented, Pink Floyd gave in, I just find it amazing that a band that embraced technology in its heyday is now completely terrified by it.

    • by AttillaTheNun (618721) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:46PM (#26380913)
      It's the label, not the band that is holding things up. The Beatles (only 2 of which are still living) have nothing to do with it.

      Given Paul McCartney has left his major label, explicitly calling them out as out-of-touch with the current digital reality, I'd say he's less than terrified by technology.

      • by rob1980 (941751) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @11:12PM (#26381641)
        Given Paul McCartney has left his major label, explicitly calling them out as out-of-touch with the current digital reality, I'd say he's less than terrified by technology.

        Especially considering you can buy something like 40 albums with his name on them on iTunes. It's not him, it's the ownership of the music from his previous band.
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:56PM (#26381009) Homepage Journal

      The only ones hurt by the Beatles not being on iTunes and other services are the remaining members.

      I don't think they're going to be hurt.

      The Beatles have the biggest selling back catalogue in the world. The #2 seller AC DC are also not on iTunes.

      Both bands think they make more money selling Albums than singles & selling singles on iTunes would cannibalise their album sales.

      Not sure if I agree or not, but they've certainly got numbers (huge album sales) on their side.

  • Digital? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prikolist (1260608) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:30PM (#26380741)

    Why use the word "digitalize", they have CD's, pretty sure those aren't recorded in analog.
    Oh, and I'm sure all the die-hard Beatles fans have complete discographies in "digital" as it is and wouldn't really care about a new way of downloading it.

    • Re:Digital? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AttillaTheNun (618721) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:49PM (#26380931)
      The only thing die-hard Beatles fans are waiting for are decent remasters to replace the 87-era releases currently available.

      Most of those have digital rips of superior vinyl masters, but Apple did provide a teaser of some tracks from a remastered White Album last September to raise expectations once again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572)
        You mean, remastered to push all the volume levels to max, eliminate the subtle instruments in the background, soft-clip weaker frequencies, and overall reduce the actual audio quality? I'd rather we ditch CDs and go to 96000Hz 24-bit DVD audio with freaking 120dB noise floor. Yes, I went there. No, vacuum tubes won't help. Neither will Monsterscam Cables.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cyphercell (843398)
      yea, kind of odd though that my kids will not be exposed to nearly as many beatles songs as I was.
      • by timeOday (582209)

        yea, kind of odd though that my kids will not be exposed to nearly as many beatles songs as I was.

        Well, you weren't exposed to as many Big Band ditties as your grandpa, either. At some point in the next 30 years all the people who ever loved the beatles will die. Then their publisher can keep their stupid back catalog.

    • Its not even digitalize... its digitize. The is the fist time i've been a spelling nazi on /. because seriously people.... Firefox comes with a built in spell checker :/ and its a nerd word and its /. .... its sad

    • by Hatta (162192)

      they have CD's, pretty sure those aren't recorded in analog.

      I'm pretty sure any beatles recording was made in analog, mixed in analog, and transferred to digital. AAD [wikipedia.org].

  • MP3s (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:43PM (#26380877) Homepage Journal

    The Beatles aren't on iTunes because Apple is pissed at Apple. I was also under the impression that under British law, early Beatles recordings are about to become public domain so there is this sudden urgency to create and sell Beatles music online in some format.

    And if I'm not mistaken, there is a Beatles Rock Band game coming out next Christmas.

    • by JSBiff (87824) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:55PM (#26380999) Journal

      "I was also under the impression that under British law, early Beatles recordings are about to become public domain. . ."

      How does that work internationally? Can those same recordings still be under copyright in other nations (like the US)? Or, since the UK is the 'home' country of the Beatles, does their copyright term prevail internationally? Even if the recordings are still under copyright, in the US, but are public domain in the UK, can people in the US receive legal copies from someone in the UK, even though it would be illegal for them to further copy those works? I believe a fundamental principle of copyright law is that those receiving works don't need the right to make the copy, but rather the person/company that gives them the copy - leading to, I would think, an ability for someone in the US to be able to *receive* the legal copy from the UK?

      • I am no lawyer, but I assume US retailers operate by US copyright law, and so on. I would like to see proper clarification however.

      • It'll be like anything else digital that's illegal in one country but legal in another.

        There'll be a server with the files in the country where it's legal with a little banner at the top of its web page saying "These files are legal to distribute in this country but not in some others. Please do not download them if it is illegal for you to do so." There will be no actual checks of any kind, of course.

        Just like that Australian branch of Project Gutenberg.

      • IANAL. The copyright is granted by each country on its own terms (generally adhering to the Bern Convention). I vaguely recall that the RIAA was going after uploaders rather than downloaders, but I don't know when or why. When you fix a recording in a nontransitory form (on your HD) you have made a copy, I don't see why the legal status of the file in its country of origin would be relevant, but that doesn't meant is isn't.
    • by sukotto (122876)

      Don't worry. The Music industry will get copyright extended. :-(

    • The Beatles aren't on iTunes because Apple is pissed at Apple.

      But Apple gave Apple money and settled all that animosity.

  • Digitalize? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Thursday January 08, 2009 @11:18PM (#26381689)
    It's DIGITIZE.
  • by Maestro485 (1166937) on Friday January 09, 2009 @12:21AM (#26382193)
    I'm sorry, but everyone replying to this thread saying the beatles are a fad are kidding themselves. They were easily the most influential and popular band of the 20th century. If you're basing your opinion on the couple of hits they had in the 60s you really need to listen to the rest of their work. Also, read your music history. Much of what the beatles did was in fact the first time anyone did it.

    There's a reason the Beatles are still as popular as they are, and it's not some corporate conspiracy.
  • Ah yeah The Beatles (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:54AM (#26382889) Homepage Journal

    I remember my 14 year-old niece. She was wearing a t-shirt that said "The Beatles" as everyone in her school wore them.

    I asked her if she ever listened to "The Beatles" and she replied "Who?" and I said "The Beatles, you know like your T-Shirt says." and then she said "What kind of music do they play? Are they rappers or techno or heavy metal?" I said "No, they were Rock and Roll, classic Rock and Roll, like from the 1960's." and she said "What kind of songs did they play?" and I said "Yellow Submarine, Yesterday, A Hard Day's Night, and a few others." she said "They sound silly, are they still alive?" I said "No, two of them are dead." and she said "Then how do they play their music, did they replace the two dead guys yet?" I said "They had like over 200 songs and they are trying to digitze them into new formats." and she said "How can they digitize them when half the band is dead?" and I asked "How could you wear a Beatles logo T-shirt and not know who they are?" and she said "It is a fashion trend at our school, everyone is wearing them because our grandparents used to wear them. You know, Hippies and stuff like that. Retrofashion is so in now."

    Ironic that at one time The Beatles claimed they were bigger than Jesus. Now the youth of today hardly even know who they were other than some t-shirt sold in the mall as Retrofashion your grandparents used to wear.

  • by sunny256 (448951) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:18AM (#26383023) Homepage

    "Vår daglige Beatles" (Our daily Beatles) was a daily radio program presenting all 212 recordings by The Beatles in chronological order, presented by Bård Ose and Finn Tokvam. Every presentation lasted about five minutes and contained interesting facts about the song -- what the inspiration for the song was, how it was recorded, some trivia about the period it was recorded, and so on. A very well-produced and informative work. The radio show started January 2007, and every Beatles song was played in its full length. It's believed this is the only time Revolution 9 [wikipedia.org] was played in its entirety on Norwegian radio.

    The last episode was aired 2007-12-13, and when christmas 2007 arrived, all 212 podcasts were put out for download at nrk.no as a christmas present for all Beatles fans, with the music removed. A real treasure, even though I had this cron job running every day to download each episode. Still, it was nice to get the complete collection.

    This January NRK was planning to release every episode with the music. They got a deal with TONO (the Norwegian RIAA) and everything was OK, but it turned out that the agreement with IFPI and FONO only allowed publishing shows aired the last four weeks, and as mentioned, these programs were aired in 2007, so the podcasts had to be pulled.

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