Finally Fab Four on iTunes!

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The Beatles finally are making their debut on iTunes.

On Tuesday, Apple announced a deal with representatives of the Beatles and the group’s record label, EMI Group, to put the entire catalog of Beatles music in the iTunes Store.

“We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. “It has been a long and winding road to get here.”

For years, The Fab Four have been the most notable holdout from selling their collective digital music in Apple’s popular iTunes store even though solo recordings by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison are available.

But Tuesday’s announcement brings the British pop royalty into the digital realm in a major way.

“It’s a very big deal,” says Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. “It’s a symbolic milestone.”

While the Beatles music has been available for four decades on vinyl, cassette, 8-track and CD, its migration to iTunes makes it more easily available to those who don’t own the songs in those other formats.

“It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around,” said Sir Paul McCartney.

All 13 of the group’s remastered studio albums are available for $12.99, or as double albums for $19.99. Individual songs can be downloaded for $1.29 each.

It’s not like owners of Apple iPods, Zunes and other mp3 haven’t been able to get the music onto their devices. All they had to do was copy their CDs to the computer and transfer the music.

“But there’s a value to saying ‘We’re the first to have the Beatles online,” says Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner. “Have you ever downloaded something you were pretty sure you had somewhere else? I know I have. Apple will sell lots of Beatles downloads.”

Paul Resnikoff, editor of the Digital Music News blog, says the Beatles on iTunes will appeal to the older demographic who never got with the program of ripping CDs. “A 16-year-old, if they’re interested, already has the music on their iPod, and figured out how to get it there. A 66-year-old may not know how to download the entire catalog in 30 minutes, and may really be interested in getting it from iTunes.”

Yikes I guess they think us geezers can’t do anything digitally.

The Dick Tracy Wristwatch is Here Already.

Mobile marketing is on the cusp of moving markets and deserves consideration as part of the marketing mix for a wide variety of products and services.
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Mr. Spock as Dick Tracy?

No longer the province of teenagers or a gadget only perpetrated by nerdy early adopters, mobile media is gaining widespread use as new phones and new software make the Internet accessible everywhere. In no time we’ll all be tethered to the digital grid; connected by a single multi-functional device.

Consider several recent developments:

1) Almost two-thirds (63%) of cell phone users have received e-mail, used text messaging or obtained news and sports information on their phones.

2) More than one-third (38%) of mobile phone users access the Internet from their phone.

3) There are 40 million smart phones in use, closing in on 20 percent of the cell phones in use and the market is growing driven by iPhones and Blackberry Pearls and Curves.

4) 130 million phones have “highly capable Internet browsers” and the IBM Institute for Business Value survey recently found that 40% of those surveyed had Internet data plans in-use and that a third of those had already watched a video on their phones.

Once you start watching video on your phone, 45% begin to do it regularly which according to Black Arrow comes up to 800 million hours of mobile video viewing, still a tiny slice of the 389 billion hours of broadcast TV watched, but a bell weather nonetheless.

Evidently we have begun to solve the technical issues of compression, design and compatibility that bring the Internet off the desktop and out of the laptop and into our on-the-go daily lives. You can bet this trend will continue. Continuous improvements in speed, signal clarity and software integration will lead to a single compact, personalized device that becomes an indispensable tool for managing communication, interaction, commerce and most practical aspects of our lives.

Dick Tracy’s wristwatch videophone and the Star Trek communicator already exist. Soon we’ll all be using their progeny.

Then think about the mobile applications that people we know have already come to rely on. Many people use their phones to search, get news alerts or sports scores, interact with TV shows, vote or take surveys, play games, send or view photos, get directions or communicate with other humans.

Facebook access from mobile devices has grown 3X in the last year to 15 million users and many other social networks are making similar claims as consumers get used to the idea of telling everybody what we’re doing in real time like on Twitter and sharing everything we find, like or do with a gang of unseen others.

The NFL streams video of games to mobile phones.

Sears2Go.com allows you to buy Craftsman tools using a phone.

A Disney-Verizon alliance will use cell phones to interact with kids and families while they’re in the parks as early as next year.

Progress in m-commerce is making the interfaces and downloads between websites and phones easier, smoother and less cumbersome day by day.

Soon mobile wallet applications will allow us to use our phones to fill up parking meters, buy from vending machines, purchase movie tickets, and check out quickly at retail stores and complete complex financial transactions from a phone keypad.

And while there are a few indications that consumers expect and will tolerate advertising surrounding these nifty new tools it’s not really clear how much and what kind of messaging will resonate.

Therefore visionary marketers will get started now and get smarter about mobile media and marketing now, during the growth phase while prices are low, content and merchant partners are flexible and open to experimentation and before anybody gets a lock on a killer app, game-changing technology or critical market segments.