“After being asked by the remaining Beatles, Ringo and Paul, along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, to make experimental mixes from their master tapes for a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, Sir George Martin, The Beatles legendary producer, and his son Giles Martin have been working with the entire archive of Beatles recordings to create LOVE. The result is an unprecedented approach to the music. Using the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, Sir George and Giles have created a unique soundscape.”
That's the blurb for The Beatles' 'Love', or 'LOVE' as they like to call it. Those who thought that 'Anthology' would have been the final exploitation of The Beatles' franchise were clearly wrong. Those archives still have lingering potential.
And perhaps LOVE isn't the end of it…
There is no doubt that The Beatles have left behind a rich body of work. Clearly they were the right band at the right time, as well as being great composers and musicians. But whether their music still sells because it is relevant today, or because it documents an era, is open to discussion.
But how does it affect us, as recording musicians? In a variety of ways…
First and foremost it siphons money from people who might have bought new music. That's got to be a bad thing because McCartney, Starr, Harrison and Ono get more, we get less. And to be honest they probably have enough already, don't they?
That logic can apply to all back catalog. As long as people are buying back catalog, they are not buying new music.
But let's not dwell on negatives. Let's look at this in a different way.
What we have to do as creative musicians of today is COMPETE against the back catalog of the likes of The Beatles.
It isn't enough to make records that stand well in comparison with other contemporary acts, they have to stand comparison with The Beatles. And the others.
Is that enough motivation to get started? I think it should be. Compete with The Beatles.. wow!
And suppose things go well and you sell albums. Hey – you are developing a back catalog of your own!
And taking a lesson from The Beatles, one vital thing to do is to keep EVERYTHING. Every little out-take will become a potential source of plunder in years to come. Document your career with photographs and diaries too.
One more piece of inspiration we can take from The Beatles…
Do you really think this is the last we have heard of them? Or in three or four years time will they have found yet another way of exploiting their archive?
Like it or not, this is creativity in its own right. The creative adaptation of pre-existing material to put fresh product into the market.
You could be thinking along the same lines right now. Your career is going to be more than a series of CDs and tours. It's going to be a FRANCHISE from which you can earn ever greater amounts of money. Possibly for the rest of your life…