(Credit: Apple Corp)
We knew the music of the Beatles was coming to the MTV video game Rock Band, but now we have a release date: 9 September 2009. That's when you'll be able to get The Beatles: Rock Band, a new edition of the game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles. The release date will be simultaneous in North America, Australasia and the European Union.
The game itself will retail for US$59.99 in the US. This is an a la carte version for use with instruments from previous Rock Bands and other compatible hardware. There will also be a US$99.99 version that comes with the Beatles-inspired guitar controllers and a US$249.99 "special edition" bundle with an all-new drum set, guitar and microphone modelled after the John, Paul, George and Ringo's own instruments. (NB: Australian pricing has yet to be announced.)
Developed by MTV Games-owned Harmonix and distributed via the Electronic Arts Partners program, The Beatles: Rock Band will be a brand-new game featuring songs and visual elements that span the group's entire career, from Please Please Me (1963) to Let It Be (1970). It is not yet confirmed whether the Beatles themselves will be featured as playable characters.
"Let me make this clear," said Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopoulos, "it's a full, new music game built from the ground up."
The release date is awfully cute, considering the Beatles' formally self-titled "White Album" contains that song called "Revolution 9", which consists largely of a repetition of the phrase "number nine, number nine, number nine". Conspiracy theorists say that if you play it backwards it sounds like "turn me on, dead man" and is hence one of the clues that adds up to reveal that Paul McCartney died and was replaced by a look-alike early in the band's career.
But here's something else for conspiracy theorists of a different variety. The 9 September 2009 date happens to be a Wednesday in early September, and Apple has historically held iPod-related announcements on Tuesdays in early September. If you want to be mega-speculative, consider that there could be an announcement that week that in addition to Rock Band, the Beatles would finally be coming to iTunes. The band's catalogue is currently not legally available for digital download.
There have been legal issues and general animosity for years between Apple Inc and Apple Corp, the publisher of the Beatles' music. When record label EMI, which owns the rights to the Beatles catalogue, inked a deal with Apple to make its catalogue available on iTunes without DRM, buzz circulated that the Beatles could be added to the digital-media emporium soon. It's been almost two years, and no Fab Four yet. Late last year, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney said that talks had stalled. There's no real gauge on where things stand now.
But perhaps you could just try playing a Steve Jobs keynote backwards and see what hidden messages surface.