Beatlemania Again

Discussion
Sep 01, 2009
George Anderson

By
George Anderson

A
whole new generation of music fans is about to discover The Beatles. EMI
is set to release the band’s musical catalog in digitally remastered CD
form on Sept. 9 and soon the Fab Four will also be video game heroes on
The Beatles: Rock Band.

While
much of the music world is going the digital download route, The Beatles
remain among the few classic rock holdouts. Interestingly, for the launch
of the group’s catalog, EMI has chosen to partner with a host of “alternative” retailers
to reach consumers.

Blockbuster,
Ralph’s, Restoration Hardware, Starbucks, 7-Eleven and Whole Foods are
among the retailers who will be selling The Beatles boxed set.

“It
will allow us to reach the everyday places people shop,” said Bill Gagnon,
SVP, Catalogue Marketing for EMI Music North America, told Brandweek. “We’re
bringing the music to where they are.”

Terry
Dry, President of the new media marketing agency Fanscape, thinks EMI has
the right idea. “The Internet’s the ultimate distribution mechanism, but
[labels] haven’t quite figured out how to monetize that well or how to
still sell their shiny plastic discs. When you look at a place like a 7-Eleven
or a supermarket where you can get that impulse buyer who’s spending
$100 on groceries, they might buy the Beatles remastered instead of US
Weekly
.”

Beatles historian Matt Hurwitz,
told USA Today that consumers
will be happy with the remastered catalog. “Even people listening on lower-quality
ear buds and MP3s will hear a drastic jump in quality,” he said. “We’re
hearing something a lot closer to the stereo and mono mixes produced in
the ’60s. This is the way The Beatles heard it.”

Discussion Questions:
What do you think of EMI’s strategy to expand sales of the remastered Beatle’s
catalog to retailers not normally associated with music? What do you think
the remastered collection and the Rock Band video game will mean for The
Beatles’ brand?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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12 Comments on "Beatlemania Again"


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Ryan Mathews
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

Last week I had an interesting Beatles experience.

I’m one of the founders of the largest music and arts festival in Michigan. On Friday I was watching some teen and 20-something volunteers working in the studio of a Boomer film maker.

“Dude,” one of the volunteers said to the Boomer, “mind if I unplug your iPod?”

“No problem, Dude” the Boomer answered. The iPod switch was made and an hour of Beatles’ music proudly blasted out of the volunteer’s iPod. “Man, what are they listening to that old stuff for?,” the dejected Boomer asked me. “I mean half those guys are dead!”

I think sales of the music should be good among the young while their parents and grandparents may enjoy the video game.

Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
11 years 8 months ago

I would have to guess there is no more iconic brand in the world than the Beatles. They would seem to cut through all of the “normal” category segments of awareness, fans, and of course, purchasers.

Expanding the network of ease to purchase to the biggest area of impact seems to make perfect sense in this strategy.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
11 years 8 months ago
I think the more interesting question is how do you monetize beyond the life of the song itself? This is the question that all content providers need to be asking themselves, not just the music industry. It’s a question of channels, and of use. Radio’s free, but you have to wait until they play what you want to hear. Radio funds that through advertising. You can get it digitally, and you might pay more to have fewer restrictions on IP rights–to be able to keep more than one copy, or to be able to use it for non-commercial uses, like on a personal movie. You’d pay more to have it in a Rock Band or Guitar Hero format, where it becomes much more than passive entertainment. Same for Sing Star. And you might pay more to open up tracks, again for entertainment and/or non-commercial uses. GarageBand is offering lessons on how to play songs–many times, provided by the artists who wrote the songs. How much more would you pay for that? And just as sites… Read more »
Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

Smart strategy on EMI’s part. As Cirque du Soleil has proven (Cirque’s “Love” show based on Beatle’s songs), Beatlemania is evergreen and many teenagers have told me that they love Beatles songs. Amazing that all of the Beatles stakeholders from wives to surviving members, were able to agree and collaborate once again to make this happen. I will say that remastering can cause backlash with fans if it is perceived as being ham-handed or not true to the spirit of the band. Metallica learned that with the not-insignificant uproar caused by its St. Anger remastering which some called “an ungodly mess.”

David Biernbaum
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

A re-mastered Beatles music endeavor has only one possible result: Beatlemania! Go to the bank with that one. Robust sales and profits to be had.

Anne Howe
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

While I’d like to see the return of old-school custom music retailers selling The Beatles remix, it’s just not going to happen. Bringing the music to the people in a variety of places they shop is a good strategy for EMI. It meets the shopper head on and will likely be very successful. So much of the music is so darn great, I’m looking forward to augmenting my old vinyl collection!

Dan Raftery
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

For one thing, music stores have mostly disappeared from the scene. So, the “traditional” outlets are now mass merchants and Amazon. This is a big impulse sale opportunity and supermarkets leverage their foot traffic every year with holiday music promotions. This is the same kind of sale. Plenty of great hype (as noted in the lead) should whet people’s appetites.

On a personal note, I bought every Beatles album upon release and have not been happy with the digital versions, except the Circ soundtrack. To be able to hear their music “the way the Beatles heard it” would be very cool. I agree with Ryan too–this could bring Boomer holdouts into the video game market.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

Young people are already there, before the remastered release. Paul McCartney’s recent concert at FedEx field near DC attracted a broad audience teens and twenty-somethings, in addition to those of us who were kids when the Beatles arrived in America. It’s a thrill that new technology will help pull in a whole new audience. Great music endures.

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 8 months ago

Talk about an unholy alliance! 7-Eleven and Whole Foods, oh the humanity! I see this as nothing more than EMI’s attempt to wring out a few more bucks in the name of nostalgia. Will it work? Absolutely! Will it endure? Absolutely not! Think KISS and Walmart…Yikes! Just old rockers et al trying to cash in again and again.

Steve Weiss
Guest
Steve Weiss
11 years 8 months ago

Beatles as product. Instant karma’s gonna get this….

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 8 months ago

Help! They just couldn’t let it be! Lucy and Eleanor Rigby would say “Get back, we don’t want to hold your hand, 7-Eleven!” What’s next, a boxed set of Lady Madonna’s albums sold in high colonic clinics (although there is something in the way she moves)? I wouldn’t drive my car down a long and winding road to any of these outlets here, there, and everywhere. I wouldn’t even take the bus, despite having a ticket to ride. I’m looking through you, EMI, but my wife, Michelle, she loves you. You just can’t please please me. From me to you, your marketing plan simply doesn’t come together. All it says is “Give me money!” Yesterday, I thought it was getting better all the time. But today in my life, there are places I remember that are better music retailers. I’ll never say “I’ve got to get you into my life, we can work it out.” I’m down, I can’t say I feel fine, and I’ll feel the same way when I’m sixty-four.

Bill Grize III
Guest
Bill Grize III
11 years 8 months ago

The Fab Four have gone beyond mere music and have entered the culture in a way unanticpated in 1964. In the ’60s, they were both mirror and catalyst to the changes swirling around them. Now,outside that sociological context, they have become a fabric of the DNA of the culture itself. It’s as if one cannot recall a time when those songs didn’t exist, so ubiquitous are they.

The box sets and especially the game will sell heavily and nurture within a new generation a thirst for all things “Fab” and retail will supply it.

By the way, I’m 44, and so missed out on the actual heyday of those 8 years. Any simulation is the closest any future generation can hope to approximating what it was like to live through the “mania.” That,and of course, the music, which continues to expand like living history!

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