The Beatles were the greatest band of all time. Period. Full stop. Don’t waste my time saying anything contrary because you’re f**king wrong. It’s as immutable as the speed of light. And if you’re of a certain age and/or musical persuasion, you know all about the Beatles and the four personalities that lay within. That means you’re well aware of Paul McCartney, one of the greatest songwriters planet Earth will ever seen.
When Kanye West released a song just before New Year’s that featured contributions from Macca, tweets like this started appearing.
The Twitterverse was deluged with similar queries after McCartney made an appearance on the Grammys a few years back.
Naturally, the Internet threw up on itself as people wondered what the hell was wrong with today’s kids. I thought exactly the same thing–but I’ve since reconsidered. First, I blame parents for not taking time to educate their kids about music. Second, I blame the Beatles themselves.
If you’re under 25 today, chances are you get almost 100% of your music online. YouTube is your go-to site, but you might also stream music through Rdio, Spotify or some other service. And while there is plenty of Beatles to be found on YouTube (I just did a quick search that returned 7,690,000 results), the Beatles’ organization hasn’t okayed any of their music for streaming. If you’re not making your product available to your audience, it’ll never, ever be discovered. Hence the above tweets.
This isn’t unprecedented, either. When the CD was introduced in late 1982, it tool until early 1987 before any Beatles albums turned up in the new format. The organization held back until they were sure that CDs were a good thing. And when they finally acquiesced, sales of CDs exploded. Such was the power of the Beatles’ blessing. The same thing happened with iTunes. The Beatles stayed on the sidelines for years, refusing to allow iTunes to sell anything from their catalogue. But once a deal was struck, whoosh! Apple roared to a 70% global market share of digital music sales. Thank you, Beatles.
So now we’ve evolved towards streaming. The Beatles are, as always, being cautious and waiting for the right deals. Once they make their music available for streaming, they’ll extend their reach and influence once again.
But they can’t wait too long. Someone somewhere in the Beatles empire must realize that in order to keep the people top-of-mind for another couple of generations (and to keep generating the billions of dollars they’re used to), they’re going to have to bend to the wants and needs of music consumers. Until then, though, we’ll see more and more kids tweeting their puzzlement at this guy who is “hella old.”