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back to article The Beatles go digital, sort of

The Beatles are releasing their whole back catalogue on a USB stick. It's a limited edition release, with just 100 sticks available to UK punters out of a total release of 30,000. The group has attempted to keep its music off the internet and have refused to have anything to do with Apple's iTunes malarkey. Of course that …

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Troll

Ha ha ha

Go on Jobs, sue!

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WTF?

Money for old used and rubbish rope

Enough said.

I for one will not be buying

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FLAC?

Good on them for providing a FLAC copy of the audio, that way you can re-create the CDs (albeit possibly not legally) and there won't be a loss of quality,

£200 though, seems a bit steep, but then I'm not a Beetles fan.

Rob

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Coat

What the f....

I'm amazed time and time again that people treat the Beatles as if they are the Holy Grail of music. Am I the only one on the planet that thinks they are actually crap? One or two decent songs but that's about it. And yet they are revered as the Gods of Music. This latest gimmick by their publishers, like their 'refusal' to publish to iTunes and other music download services, just smacks of severe dilusions of grandeur. A USB stick of their music? Ooh, where do I sign?

From a Pink Floyd / Led Zeppelin / Clapton / Hendrix fan

Mine's the flame-retardant one, with the artwork of Storm Thorgerson in the pocket

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Joke

Fairness

"The USB stick, which comes in an apple shaped holder, will cost you £200 - substantially more than the CDs, which seems a bit unfair."

Not really; you can delete the contents off the USB stick and fill it with Stones tracks when you realise the supplied content is still toss 50 years later, making the stick substantially more valuable...

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FAIL

Errr....

Grow up a bit, I don't think that really has anything to do with Apple Inc. Should Golden Delicious sue as well?

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WTF?

@Hermes

Crapola! You are right! Wasn't it digital media??

LOL!

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Pint

Got the formats right, shame about the price!

I trust that 'Fully compatible' means that there is no form of DRM type stuff thrown in?

Get the price right and more bands / artists should do this! (along with less fancy less limited edition back cat usb sticks).

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FAIL

24 bit?

So, you pay your £200 for a collector's item (not really a bad deal, considering limited run). But, I'm left wondering why bother including FLAC at 24-bit if it's still only 44.1KHz?

Having heard the difference between 44.1KHz (which is what every CD is) and 192KHz (which is what most new music is mastered at) *even on low-end audio setups*, I think someone has missed a trick.

16-bit 96KHz would be audibly much better than 24-bit 44.1KHz. I just don't get the thinking behind that particular decision. Still, it's the best quality Beatles we will be able to listen to, for some time yet.

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£ 200!!!

that music should be public domain by now...

haven't they made enough hundreds of millions (maybe more) out of this already?

£200! and then they wonder why the working-class average person just googles "beatles discography torrent"

nice apple though... at that price very much "the forbidden fruit".

if Lennon was alive i wonder what his take on eternal holding of ip rights would be.

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IT Angle

What's new?

All the Beatles music has been available from a bunch of perfectly legal sites based in Russia for years.

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Meh.

Digitally remastered CD = Still poor quality. This wont be any better.

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Pirate

@hermes

Troll baiting can be dangerous.

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Re : Irish Donkey

Just to set the record straight and provide a totally unbaised view point. The Beatles are living (well a couple of them anyway) gods of music and should have used fivers strewn at their feet (probably be cheaper that rose petals this time of year) from a grateful government for all of the foreign currency that they've brought into the country.

I also understand that their sweat can cure cancer and their urine can be used to provide limitless waste free power.

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Kudos

Kudos for them for supplying both lossy at a decent bit rate and lossless format. And kudos for using flac.

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eh?

"A specially designed Flash interface has been installed, and the 16MB USB's audio and visual contents will be provided in FLAC 44.1 Khz 24 bit and MP3 320 Kbps formats, fully compatible with PC and Mac."

16MB? That's one small stick!

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FAIL

Same old Same old

As someone who <cough> remembers them when they first 'hit the scene', it has never failed to amaze me how many ways the record companies try to squeeze as much as possible out of punters since then. Of course, now that two and half of them are dead (Ringo, bless him, is only half there) there's some perceived rarity value in that they'll never play together again. It doesn't happen with Mozart or any of those guys though...

It's the same with the George Martin remixes a while back. He's a nice enough chap (I've worked alongside him albeit for short time) but he's nearly deaf and wtf does he think he's going to get out of it? It's not like they're completely re-recorded or anything.

Releasing 'digitally re-mastered' really is good money for old rope. You can't get more out than went in, FFS! And a USB stick costing substantially more than the CD's? You're 'avin a bubble mate!

The mono versions from the original tapes are the only ones to listen to, quite honestly and that's not me being Luddite it's just that that's the way it was meant to be heard.

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Dead Vulture

Grow up

"But is the apple a reference to the name of their record label or a pointed dig at Steve Jobs?"

Don't think Apple Records needs to make any pointed digs at Steve. Apple Records (est 1968) has been selling music long before the other Apple (est 1976) started dabbling in computer shaped toys.

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Coat

No ! You're not the only one

I also think they're a bit crap. There were much better bands around at the time.

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I don't understand.

Why do they not want their music on the internet? Surely they could sell the FLAC/MP3/WAV/whatever through Amazon as other artists do? Would they rather people do as described by a previous poster and download it illegally?

The cat is well and truly out of the bag -- so why can't they at least provide their back catalogue to the masses at a reasonable price?

That said -- I would certainly buy something like this product if sold by an artist I was a fan of, but probably not for £200 when I could buy the CDs cheaper.

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FAIL

@ I don't understand

You have to understand that 'The Beatles' and the management of it are really really old school.

Seriously.

I know of several other artists from that period who just 'don't get' the internet and they haven't been helped by the twunting retards at the record companies either. Don't start me off on how the record industry really missed the boat with regard to the internet. Instead of coming up with a credible new business model that didn't mean charging full retail for downloads (with no packaging and minimal distribution costs), they've given the likes of the RI Ass of A carte blanche to demonise and castigate anyone they suspect of being persistent downloaders.

Twunts.

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@ Stefan 2 44.1kHz

Are you mad?

I doubt there is ANY content as high frequency as 22kHz. 192kHz sampling simply lets you use cheaper filters on the LIVE analogue in. Then you can downsample to 44.1kHz or 48KHz.

Unless you are a Dog or Bat, there is Zero need to distribute music at 192kHz.

You obviously have not done a true double blind test on properly setup gear, or you are not Human.

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Quality

Quite honestly, bearing in mind that the originals were recorded in mono, two track and (shock horror) 4 track analogue magnetic tape with overdubs and all, putting it into lossless flac is not likely to improve the quality over MP3. Some of my first Beatles albums were on Compact Cassette, and you could hear the hiss from the master tapes over the Compact Cassette hiss (and this was before DolbyB)

Of course, when they say re-mastered, they could mean compressed, dehissed, pitch corrected, psuedo stereo-ised and other cleanup methods, but if they do, then I'm not interested.

If it's not black and 7 or 12" rotating at 45 or 33rpm, then it's not really a Beatles record. I'll listen to the un-mutilated CD's where there is noise (in the car, or on a portable media player), but vinyl is the real McCoy.

"Love" was very good, but listening to it again, even though the Martins said they had to do very little to the tracks to munge them together, you can still tell where they did mess around.

Too many of today's recording artists are produced and engineered to death. They may sound good live (that is if they are any good), but the records that come out are lifeless and flat, without any personality, and even worse if they have used pitch-correction. That is one of the few good things about X-Factor (and even more, Fame Academy) was that you actually get to hear the contestants 'warts and all' (I mean, just listen to John and Edward at the moment - they're some warts!). As soon as the top three produce their albums, the music is just dead.

If they re-work the Fab Four using modern day production techniques, then there is no doubt that newcomers to their work will just say "so-what."

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Rocky Racoon

Plugged i-in his fruit

Only to find twas Jobs's Apple

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Coat

@By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 4th November 2009 16:02 GMT

"I also understand that their sweat can cure cancer and their urine can be used to provide limitless waste free power."

You are incorrect. That would be Chuck Norris

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Anonymous Coward

@ Stefan 2

Err, no. As someone who spends far too much time behind mixing desks in studios I'd be shocked if anyone was recording, mixing or mastering anything at 96K or above at below 24 bit resolution. The quality difference gained from 16- to 24-bit is huge compared to 48- to 96KHz. Also far more likely to have issues with the DA converters on the average AV system not supporting higher sample rates.

Not that I'd buy one, but as a British band and label, it seems a bit odd that they're they only selling 1/3 % of them over here. Probably proof that no matter how bad the economy, there'll always be a market for gimmicky Beatles collectibles in Japan.

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Can't say I care for them, either

Their early covers show how they weren't up to their inspirations, and by the time Rubber Soul came along, they were coasting and following trends.

I bet the thought of all those royalties being out of her control has sent Paul's wife to stomping, though.

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@I don't understand

Didn't home taping already kill music?

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Pint

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Agree with Frito, that stuff should be public domain by now. I've already bought their entire catalog twice. I'm not paying for it again

Even if I did, who exactly is getting paid from my purchase anyway?

John? Erm, nope.

Paul? Hmmm, even after paying out to that 1 legged bint he still has more than enough money to live on easy street for another two lives, so I'll pass on that.

George? Ermm, again, nope.

Ringo? Like Paul, he's already had his massive payday for work he did half a century ago. Enough already.

Which leaves EMI et al.

EMI's problem is that the new stuff they push is crap and it is "classic" stuff which sells, even after all this time.

Sorry big 5, but your time has been and gone.

You are relics of another time. I've had enough with you freeloaders trying to milk our cultural assets in perpetuity instead of honouring your half of the copyright agreement.

I refuse to pay for music that is over 30 years old, especially when I have already purchased it before.

Oh, and @ Pink Floyd / Led Zeppelin / Clapton / Hendrix fan. I too am a fan of those bands. But that doesn't preclude being a fan of the Beatles as well.

As in all such things, personal tastes can vary. Saying "the Beatles are crap" is a meaningless statement because there is no way to empirically measure musics "crapness", it all comes down to the person listening.

Have a beer

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Coat

actually old chap

"Don't think Apple Records needs to make any pointed digs at Steve. Apple Records (est 1968) has been selling music long before the other Apple (est 1976) started dabbling in computer shaped toys."

Yes, but there was substantial litigation which resulted in a "you stick to music, we'll stick to computers, and neither of us will get our knickers in a twist" deal. But when iTunes, iPod etc came out, Apple Records claimed that was Jobs getting in on music and breaking the truce; hence why putting the files on a computery USB shaped like an apple might get Jobs's clan pissed off.

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I'd buy one....

Just sayin'....

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Pirate

@frito_x

I hope you think Lennon would side with the common man on copyright. John was a big 'shop front'! He waxed on about peace and love etc but he had a fleet of Rolls Royces don't forget. He was a ruthless opportunist who knew how to play the game and (Paul too) was very careful about the royalties side of things.

Anyone who really wanted a digital copy of the Beatles back catalogue already has it by now - whether they downloaded it or just ripped the CDs. Anyone who buys this novelty USB is a knob!

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Pint

@Throatwobbler Mangrove

Quite correct. And (I don't know if this still holds true for Mac OS X or not), back in the days of at least OS 7 to OS 9, there was a system noise called 'Sosumi' (so-sue-me), which was alledgedly created as a response to Apple Corps v. Apple Computer trademark dispute.

But that could just be folklore.

Sod The Beatles.

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Copyright?

Over the coming decade, the mechanical copyright on the original Beatles 45s and 78s will expire (50 years since release). There will still be composer royalties to be paid, but there's little that EMI will be able to do to prevent a third party from recording an original Parlophone pressing, cleaning it up, and releasing it on CD.

These recent CD/USB re-releases (because of the remastering) will have a fresh new mechanical copyright date which won't expire until at least 2059.

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Paris Hilton

@Mage

eh... does that mean I won't be able to hear it on my Woofers,

Paris, I bet she can here high frequency sounds

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@ bilgepipe

"Grow up a bit, I don't think that really has anything to do with Apple Inc. Should Golden Delicious sue as well?"

Right. Except that a) Apple has a long running legal dispute with the Beatles' records label, Apple Corps, over use of the apple name and image. See, for example, a description of one episode in this seemingly never-ending saga:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3105444.stm

So Apple Corps releasing an apple-shaped product is likely to irk Jobs.

...and b) Apple has a habit of suing anyone who releases anything that looks even vaguely like an apple. For example:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/apple-logo-legal-college,6459.html

so it's really not that much of a leap to conclude that Apple Inc. might bring yet another absurd lawsuit.

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@ Mage

Spot Bollock, me old golden-ears....

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