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Beatles Enter Digital Age With Rock Band Game And Re-Master

September 7, 2009

The simultaneous release of The Beatles re-mastered catalog and the MTV video game The Beatles: Rock Band moves the Fab Four a step closer to selling their music online, Reuters reported.

The group’s label EMI Music and the Beatles’ company Apple Corps Ltd will bring a much-needed windfall when The Beatles collection hits key markets like the United States and Britain on September 9.

However, much of the excitement surrounds MTV’s video game.

Gennaro Castaldo of music and gaming retailer HMV in London said he thinks the game is significant because it will enable the music to be heard by a new generation of fans.

“It just keeps the Beatles mythology growing and growing, so that’s why it is so significant,” he added.

Billboard recently announced that the Beatles would soon allow fans to buy at least some of their music in digital form as extra downloadable content for the game.

Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George and the music producer for the game, said he thinks the Beatles’ music will soon be available everywhere.

With more than 600 million album sales worldwide, music lovers have waited for years to be able to download the Beatles’ coveted body of work, but have been frustrated partly by a trademark dispute.

The new Beatles collection contains 12 albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in Britain, and “Magical Mystery Tour,” which became part of the Beatles’ core catalog when the CDs were released in 1987.

The collections “Past Masters Vol. I and II” are combined as one title, making 14 titles overall.

Improved computer software allowed Allan Rouse’s team to re-master and improve the quality and sound of the Beatles’ catalog, which included removing bad edits, electrical clicks and sibilance.

“Obviously the only people who are going to notice those little things are the fans, because they will know that they’ve gone,” Rouse told Reuters.

Rouse suggested that future generations probably don’t want to hear things like sibilance and pop and a bad edit.

“It’s very close to listening to a master tape,” he added.

But Rouse said the dominance of iPods is another obstacle to appreciating the new changes.

“The sad fact of it is that so many people … are going to rip them into their computer and put them onto their iPods, so yes, listening on an iPod you probably will find it very difficult to tell the difference,” he said.

The Beatles game contains 45 songs from the band’s catalog and each member is animated in detail while real crowd noise from Beatles’ performances play within.

The makers of The Beatles: Rock Band hope the game will appeal to older audiences who have not yet experimented with the format but may be attracted by their love of the music.

HMV’s Castaldo said games such as these are becoming a family event because it’s moved from the bedroom to the front room where the whole family can play.

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