iTunes and The Beatles: A Day We Will Soon Forget

As we mentioned in yesterday’s poll question, at the beginning of the week Apple surprised us all by posting an announcement on their homepage. Something big was coming from iTunes. So big in fact that Apple promised us a day we would never forget.

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The big tease from Apple

Naturally, our imaginations ran wild. Would it be a new streaming service? Would the long-awaited cloud-based iTunes app now become reality? Or was Apple cooking up something even better that we hadn’t even thought of yet?

The trick worked. The Internet was alive with twittering users all putting their two-cents worth in about what they thought Apple would announce.

The interesting part for me was that, whatever it was, it wasn’t big enough for Apple to announce at their recent September event. Despite the homepage excitement, Steve Jobs didn’t so much as hint that something was coming in November.

The Mystery Is Revealed

As the day progressed, some very observant folks started to take note that the four clocks on the Apple homepage bore a strange resemblance to a certain Beatles album cover. This in addition to the “Another Day” reference made for some very convincing evidence that Apple had indeed left us a few clues as to the nature of the announcement.

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The cover art for Help! from the Beatles

Finally, after a long, rumor-filled day, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that a Beatles announcement was coming. Apple, an intensely secret company that has had quite a bit of trouble keeping their secrets lately, followed through the next day and announced that the Beatles had finally come to the iTunes store.

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The Beatles on iTunes

One More Thing?

Some of us held out hope for a “One More Thing” to go along with the Beatles announcement, but one never came. It turns out Apple was in fact suggesting that, for some reason, we would all forever treasure the day that the Beatles came to iTunes.

The web community was less than thrilled with the news. Twitter came alive with 140 character rants about how Apple had gone too far with the hype. Honestly, I can’t help but agree that Apple really dropped the ball with this situation.

Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned in a recent AppStorm interview, I’m actually a huge Beatles fan. There are entire weeks where I listen to nothing else. However, that’s exactly my point. Beatles fans already have Beatles music. The Beatles collection hasn’t been hidden for decades. Apple didn’t suddenly bring a lost piece of history back to the world. They merely received permission to sell what others already could.

A Day We Would Never Forget?

This was in fact huge news… for Apple. They’ll make a fortune off of the Beatles library (they likely already have) and will probably always remember the day they beat the legal hurdles and made it happen. However, suggesting that the average person would never forget the event is so humorous that it seems hyperbolic.

Despite the underwhelming nature of the news, as I said before, the stunt worked. The media was all over this event. They ran countless stories about the cryptic homepage (I was personally interviewed by a local radio station) followed by the official announcement and consequently gave Apple all the free press they could ever want.

However, the peeved fans are quite the price to pay. Apple’s number one strength is brand image so they really have to be careful about doing anything that could be seen as taking a baseball bat to their sacred reputation. Building hype over what felt like a great new product launch only to let everyone down is exactly the kind of thing they should be seeking to avoid.

If Apple would’ve surprised us all with a Beatles announcement out of no where, there would be nothing to be angry about. They would’ve still gotten plenty of press (though maybe not quite as much), sold a million songs and whistled all the way to the bank while their customers patted them on the back for finally coming through with a victory in a long battle. However, what they did instead was embark on a greedy hype hunting expedition. Poor form Apple, you’re merely teaching us all to take your big announcements with a grain of salt.

What Do You Think?

Yesterday we gave you the chance to vote on whether or not you were excited about the Beatles announcement, today we want to hear your rants.

Do you agree with me that Apple should’ve skipped promising us a memory that we would treasure forever? Or was Apple’s strategy merely marketing at it’s finest and an example that other companies should be following?