got buried last week in an avalanche of WTF with regard to
a proposed city of Albany ordinance that would impose a $50
tax on an establishment for every music performance, every
karaoke performance, every DJ spinningówhy, any time anybody
even thought about music in the general proximity of
a club, laundromat, restaurant or convenience store. Or something
Like thereís too much music happening in town. Like those
darn lazy musicians are being paid too much. Iíve been
assured by folks much smarter than me that this was all a
tempest in a tea bag, and one of these smart folks, Chet Hardin,
has the whole skinny laid out for you elsewhere in this issue.
And speaking of tea bags, all hats go way off to the fine
people of the North Country. It was mildly amusing to see
the idiot media get all cranked up over the big congressional
showdown in the Adirondacks between the normal workings of
democracy and the fascist far right. Why, itís a referendum
on Obama, or on the Republican Party, or socialism, or Fox
News! Speak to us, NY-23! Grace us with your accumulated wisdom!
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you!
Now, North Country folks are about as individualistic as they
come; that is, they tend not to be real big on following or
doing what they are told to do by strangers. And they sure
ainít dumb. Remote? Yes. West Virginia? No. So, when a gaggle
of thuggish assclowns like Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, and Sarah
Palin shoved the local Republican candidate out of the way
in favor of this goofy-looking, nervous, out-of-district little
nobody who parroted the Heritage Foundationís party line,
well, it was pretty clear that things werenít going to go
well for the visiting team. The whole silly affair struck
me as less a referendum about any national issue than the
Adirondacks telling a bunch of phony would-be power brokers
to get lost.
As far as Maine goes, how tragic and sad. I wonít be vacationing
there anytime soon. Iíll go to the Adirondacks.
OK. MP3s have been around since, what, 1995? For the next
10 years, MP3s were the format of choice for an overwhelming
number of music fans, but unavailable for purchase anywhere,
leaving this overwhelming number of music fans two choices:
Make your own by ripping a CD, or, even better, downloading
MP3s for free from any of the P2P or torrent sites on the
Internet. Slowly, the major labels caught on that not selling
what people wanted wasnít a particularly smart business model,
and MP3s are now available through iTunes, Amazon, and the
But there were stragglers, most notably, the entire Beatles
catalog, which, along with a couple other banner collections,
like those of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, have to date been unavailable
in any kind of digital format. Except, of course, on CDs.
Which means that all of this music has been readily available
for download as free MP3s all over the Internet. You just
canít buy it that way.
Well, after years of promises and speculation (I was positive
that the Beatlesí digital catalog was gonna come packed into
the first iPhones a few years ago. I was wrong.), it looks
like the Beatles are joining the real world. Sort of. Apple
Records just announced that in the first week of December
it will start shipping little apple-shaped memory sticks that
contain the entire remastered Beatles stereo catalog, with
the songs available in the lossless FLAC format and as 320
bps MP3s. There are also a bunch of jpgs and little movies
in the package.
Well, whoop-dee-freakiní-doo. Itís my job to complain about
things like this, so let me count the ways this is wrong:
1. It costs $280, or $20 per album. The same CD box set costs
$220. And this is because?
2. Why only the stereo albums? Any real Beatles fan will tell
you that the remastered early mono mixes are the only things
that really matter in these rereleases.
3. You have to buy the whole damn thing. No single albums
and certainly no single songs. Repeat after me: ďLove Me Do
mono torrent MP3.Ē Now hit search. Youíre welcome.
4. Theyíre selling only 30,000 of them. Selling things that
are scarce is a good marketing plan. Creating ridiculously
artificial and easily defeatable scarcity is not.
Iím sure youíll have your own reasons for avoiding this, unless
youíre one of those several million Beatles completists out
there who, no doubt, have already snapped up every single
one of these pricy doo-hingies by the time you read this.
So, I guess it doesnít make any difference anyway. Sheesh.
Rapp is an intellectual-property lawyer with offices in Albany
and Housatonic, Mass. He teaches art-and-entertainment law
at Albany Law School, and regularly appears as part of the
Copyright Forum on WAMCís Vox Pop. Contact info can
be found at paulrapp.com. Comments about this article can
be posted at rapponthis.blogspot.com.