When I was growing up, back in the 1960s, there was a band called The Beatles that was more famous than any other band. From 1964 to 1969 they were always in the news, always on the radio, often seen on television, setting the pace for sixties pop culture. You heard their songs everywhere, either ordinary folks just singing, or professionals covering their tunes. I bought all their albums as they came out, with each new release a big occasion. Then The Beatles broke up and everyone was sad.
Years later, when CDs came out, I bought all The Beatles albums again, but this time the albums were different from when their songs came out on LPs in the 1960s. The CD albums were repackaged like they had been first released in England as LPs. For a while, this brought The Beatles back into my life. For decades when I listened to music it was by listening to CDs, and now and then I’d play The Beatles. I still thought of them as the most famous band on Earth.
Starting many years ago I switched to Rhapsody subscription music, and after a few years to Rdio, and after another few years to Spotify. I listen to streaming music at my computer, or when walking around with my iPod touch, or on my big stereo through my Roku connected to my receiver. The Beatles have never been on streaming music. As I slowly stopped playing CDs, The Beatles were forgotten. Then they released their albums again on remastered CDs. I bought them all except Yellow Submarine. However, I didn’t even play all these new CDs because I’ve gotten out of the habit of playing CDs. Some of those remastered CDS are still in the shrink wrap. Maybe I’ll get around to them eventually, but streaming music is my habit.
I’ve gotten so used to listening to streaming music that if I can’t add a song to my playlists, or call the album up when I think about it, it doesn’t get played. So I don’t’ hear The Beatles anymore. This year when they had all the 50th anniversary stuff it was fascinating to watch on TV. That would have triggered memories and gotten me to add some of their songs to my playlists, if they had been available on Spotify, but since they weren’t, I haven’t.
I said to my wife, “I wonder what Beatles songs I’d add to my playlist if they were available?” I never found out, because they still aren’t on streaming.
I have two sets Beatles CDs, plus all their songs ripped to my computer, and even uploaded to my Amazon Music and Google Music accounts. Rhapsody/Rdio/Spotify has ruined me. I now think of music as what I hear everyday from Spotify. I sometimes get out my favorite albums I play on Spotify and play them on CD just to hear their better sound quality, but I don’t play The Beatles because I don’t remember them anymore. My music world has become Spotify, and The Beatles are not part of that world.
I know people who still play The Beatles, not their CDs, but digital songs they’ve stolen or bought as singles. Those folk are still stuck in the past of owning music. Statistics show streaming music is catching on, and even the number of illegal downloads are down. Sales of purchased digital songs are down too. If stolen and bought songs are in decline, and renting is on the increase, when are people going to play The Beatles?
I wonder if other people are like me, and have forgotten The Beatles because their songs aren’t available via streaming music? Well, new people who never knew The Beatles don’t even know what they are missing. But for us old farts, it’s, “Whatever happened to The Beatles?” It’s a new world out there when it comes to discovering and playing music. Some bands are bucking the trend because of the money. And I can understand that. But music seems to be in two places now, either live or streamed. Who plays albums anymore? Or the radio?
Hey, whatever happened to The Beatles?
JWH – 7/10/14