The Beatles are in the process of being pixelized! Word came out a couple of days ago that a video game recounting the career of the most famous pop band in the world is in development. Harmonix, creators of Rock Band, MTV games, Apple Corps ltd. and the surviving band members, Paul and Ringo, have all decided to settle for the interactive adventure. Apparently the game will be a Rock Band look-a-like but only focusing on the repertoire of the brit-pop quartet (as a reminder, Apple Corps is not to be confused with Steve Job’s Apple. The former is a multimedia conglomerate formed by The Beatles in 1968 that regroups all their media activities, and above all retains publishing rights to their back-catalogue. Pretty big legal battles arose between the two companies over trademark infringement by the way :).
Big sudden leap for Apple Corps ltd who has been so reluctant to distribute their music digitally. Actually they still haven’t given their consent to do so but negotiations are ongoing, which is understandable seeing how going with the Rock Band flow has very (very) positive effects on the featured bands’ sales. But even so, to understand why the Fab-Four still haven’t gone digital is quite the brain teaser.
First off Apple Corps has some weird relationship with technology as they made fans wait until 1986 before they released their albums on CD. Concerning digital distribution, many reasons, or rather hypothesises explain the unwillingness. Why their catalog isn’t sold on iTunes is fairly logical since Aple Corps ltd. and Apple Inc. are kind of sworn enemies and all, but why not in other major distribution outlets like Napster or Rhapsody? The Beatles are an album band’ and selling individual tracks will hurt their integrity blablabla. Their songs are worth far more than 99 cents blabla. They are skeptical about the mass market appeal for downloading blabla. Well now digital sales are growing and band games are sky rocketing, so the way I see it Apple Corps is cutting the bla and diving head first into a pool full of cash.
But hey, it’s easy to point fingers. Even though I hate those stupid games I must admit they are educating youngsters musically, and that much can’t be said about the current major music industry. Not only have albums sales been soaring for the bands lucky enough to be featured, but so have also guitars, bass and drum sales. Kids these days are finally understanding that rock is good and that without it there is no meaning to life.
All jokes aside, I say why not. The Beatles are probably the most influential band there is. I think it’s safe to say no band can admit to not having been influenced by their lyrical melodies and their outstanding originality paving the roads to so many musical genres. But lets not forget that old bands live on thanks to a generation’s appreciation of their work, and the Beatles’ generation is still alive and well. I am very concerned for geniuses such as Yes, Zappa, Roxy Music, Karate and so many others in the years to come. Seeing how a big proportion of the public blindly accepts what is served to them in terms of music, what’s to happen to those guys in 50 years. They might be completely forgotten if there is no significant eagerness to promote their music once we’re all dead and gone. I mean, damn, who now knows Todd Rundgren, or Marlena Shaw these days?? Almost nobody, and that constitutes a real problem I believe a band even of the likes of the Beatles isn’t immune to, at least to some extent. So if games likes Guitar Hero and Rock Band can help leverage and promote their music, yea, I say why not.