Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Apple Corps, EMI Group, Ltd., the surviving Beatles and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison -- the main entities involved in making the Fab Four's music available for download on iTunes -- have reached a historic agreement to no longer offer the legendary rock band's music on the Internet, saying that it was pointless to just keep generating money that none of them really needed.
"We were all pretty rich to begin with," said Jobs, "and come on, in our first week we sold over 1.4 million songs in the U.S. alone. I got with Paul [McCartney] and he had to admit he had more filthy lucre than he would ever know what the hell to do with." Although Ringo Starr did not stand as much to gain from the iTunes deal as his old band mate Paul, who is a co-songwriter on almost all of the songs, McCartney told reporters he was so fed up with making money off the Beatles that he would give Ringo half of his iTunes pay "just to be done with the strain of it." "You've no idea what it's like," said McCartney, "having a constant, diarrhea-like stream of passive income. It takes it out of you."
As if in solidarity, Yoko Ono has also agreed to share her own larger take of the royalties with George Harrison's widow, saying that she could "give Olivia ninety percent of what I make and still have enough left over to subsidize the rehabilitation, education and successful matriculation back into society of every sex worker on the planet." Even EMI, the record company long in dispute with Apple Corps about unpaid royalties, gave up the ghost. "We've been greedily wringing drops of liquid gold from the dampened hand towel known as the Beatles for almost fifty years." said an unnamed EMI spokesperson. "Our wrist muscles were very tired."
"Perhaps this general sense of fatigue they feel is but the culmination of spending decades pulling new ways to repackage the Beatles out of their butt cheeks," offers Jonas Toth, a psychologist who specializes in entertainment-related complexes. "In the late 1980's, the Beatles catalogue was finally released on CD; but even prior to that there were endless reissues on vinyl. And then of course came the Anthology, and Let It Be... Naked which could just as well have been called Let It Be...WTF? I mean, that weird Norwegian video of "Let It Be" with Philip Michael Thomas doing air guitar on the beach had more raison d'être than that sorry excuse for a new experience."
Add to this list of unabashed exploitations of name recognition the Cirque du Soleil show Love, the film Across the Universe, Beatles Rock Band and the potentially upcoming motion capture remake of Yellow Submarine, and the modern entertainment consumer is dealing with a level of potential overexposure previously only experienced via actor Michael Caine. Therefore, says Toth, it is only natural that all parties standing to gain from these ventures would eventually reach a state of guilt-induced "sell-outness" combined with an underlying, debilitating ennui that must result in surrender. And so it has.
"It all worked out for the best," beamed an as-ever cheerful Paul McCartney. "It had gotten to the point where I was keeping all my money in a big brown bag inside the zoo."
James Napoli is an author and humorist. More of his comedy content for the Web can be seen here.
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