Lots of people seem to think Apple couldn’t announce the Beatles remastered catalog for sale on iTunes tomorrow because the invitations for the event used a variation of a line from a Rolling Stones song: “It’s only rock and roll but we like it.”
I don’t think that’s a valid reason; here’s why:
- Does it mean there’s a Rolling Stones announcement tomorrow? Doubtful. Yet according to the theory there could be no other music sales announcement since a Rolling Stones song was used.
- Had they used a Beatles song quote, surely it would have tipped their hand and, rumors aside, Apple would like to keep it under wraps as long as possible.
Personally, I think they used the quote to emphasize the event is only about iPods and iTunes, not tablets, Apple TV, Macs, etc.
Why They Wouldn’t Be on iTunes Tomorrow
OK, but if the quote doesn’t preclude the Beatles on iTunes, why do I think it won’t happen yet? Because:
- Rock Band has been pumping up the volume on this for months, ever since the deal was inked. Further, there’s a major push for the remasters themselves. I suspect the intent is for RB to fuel remaster sales, and vice versa. They don’t want the media frenzy to have a third story to write about (i.e., digital downloads). Yet.
- It would make sense to hold off on the digital tunes to get as many early adapters to buy the boxed set. Presumably there’s more money involved there.
- It wouldn’t even surprise me if digital downloads were specifically (and contractually) prohibited for X number of weeks/months after the 9/9/09 launch.
- You shouldn’t make a big deal out of the ultra-fidelity of a remaster, and then sell it as a compressed music file.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Could the Beatles remasters be the event that finally kicks off a catalog available in lossless format? That would certainly address point #4 above. Sure, the file sizes are much greater, but Apple is routinely delivering movies and TV shows now so it’s not the issue it was when the store was opened six years ago.
If lossless is an option, then maybe it could be available tomorrow, but it would still run counter to nos. 2 and 3 above. Further, if such downloads were going to be available, why wouldn’t Apple have allowed pre-orders, as they usually do, and as Amazon (and others) are doing for the boxed CDs?
Ultimately, I think no Beatles download sales tomorrow, but I do hope that when they are made available a lossless option will be available.