Apple the computer company was named after Apple the record company, started by The Beatles. The latter sued the former a few times and won. This time they lost.
Will we ever see the Beatles’ music on the iTunes Music Store? Does it matter?
It’s one thing to be a little out of touch and no longer hip and with it. It’s something else again to be fully over the hill and a soon-to-be-forgotten footnote in music history.
That’s the story of The Beatles; John, Paul, George, and Ringo; arguably the best rock ‘n roll band ever. All that’s left is a balding, drug-rehabbed Ringo Starr, and the Unsinkable Molly Brown of music, Paul McCartney.
What of Apple Corps, The Beatles Music company? It remains a shell of its’ former self, no longer cool, no longer hip, no longer with it, no longer able to attract the best lawyers money can buy.
First, a little history. Apple Computer founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak confessed many years ago that their company was named after The Beatles’ and their company, Apple Corp.
Once Apple Computer had plenty of money in the bank, Apple the recording company sued for infringement. Apple the computer company paid millions.
Years later, Apple’s successful Mac was making music, and Apple the record company sued again, and Apple the recording company settled again; to the tune of about $26-million dollars…
…and some very specific language about the term “Apple” and what the Mac maker was allowed and not allowed to do.
Circa 2000 and Apple (the computer company and Mac maker) launches iTunes. Come 2001 and Apple launches the wildly successful iPod, and in early 2002 the market leader in legal online music sales, the iTunes Music Store.
Apple Corps played the wait and see game. Once Apple Computers’ products were successful and money was rolling again, Apple Corp did their well-known deed to “protect their trademark” and sued Steve Jobs’ company. Again, though this time for breach of the previously agreed-to contract.
One would wonder how many times that scenario could play out and how much Apple would be willing to pay out.
This time, Apple the Mac maker had a lengthy, detailed contract and language which worked in its’ favor, and Apple Corps lost the nearly year long lawsuit.
Apple is not in breach of the contract, so sayeth the court. But two issues remain unresolved.
The first issue is the lawsuit. Though most legal eagles say they’ll lose again, The Beatles record company says they’ll sue again. Though things are looking up for our boys in Cupertino, you never know about the legal system.
The second issue is The Beatles. So far, you can’t buy Beatles’ music from the most popular music store in the world, Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
The question to be asked is, does it matter? I don’t think so. Why?
I have five or six Beatles CDs already. The songs collectively make up a nearly full collection of everything The Beatles did.
I’m talking about their music. Not Yoko Ono.
All the CDs are already in my iTunes collection and they sound great. Is there a need to buy them again from the iTunes Music Store, if that were possible?
No. And I would advise anyone else not to wait until The Beatles’ over-the-hill record company comes to grips with reality and settles their silly attempt to tilt at windmills.
Buy the CD and save money, time, and headaches. Steve Jobs and Apple our favorite Mac maker doesn’t need the money. Frankly, neither do The Beatles.
Waiting for an iTMS version of The Beatles’ music may be an effort in futility. Maybe.
The only caveat to this waiting game is the quality of the music on the CDs vs. the quality of music which may be made available to an online music store, or newly remastered CDs.
Apple Corps says they’re in the process of remastering all the music in their catalog, most of which is music from The Beatles’ era of the 1960s. It’s possible the new versions may sound better than the originals, or those made available to CDs in recent years.
There’s still no guarantee that Apple Corps will put The Beatles’ music on Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Perhaps the Brits are still smarting over that American Revolution thing a few hundred years ago.
Regardless, it’s over. It’s time to move on. Everyone knows it except Apple Corps. It’s time for them to join the party and move into a new century. Everyone else has except The Beatles.
I just have this feeling that the war is not over for Apple. Either one of them.