iTunes Beatles billboard with the Empire State Building in the background

Apple iTunes Beatles billboard NYC with the Empire State Building in the backgroundApple iTunes Beatles billboard NYC with the Empire State Building in the background1

This iTunes Beatles billboard is in New York City, a few blocks north of Canal Street, in the vicinity of the entrance / exit of the Holland Tunnel.

This installation of the iTunes Beatles billboards has the Empire State building in the background. Using the same theme as the NYC Apple Store Beatles billboards and the iTunes Beatles Lincoln Tunnel billboards, the Fab Four appear as towering figures. Apple portrays the Beatles as surpassing King Kong — the raw primal id that in the end was dwarfed and defeated by technology. Here, the Beatles stand head and shoulders above the skyscrapers, following in the footsteps of Godzilla — that release of the reptilian brain through science, just like the electric music known as Rock and Roll.

King Kong on top of the Empire State Building

Godzilla towers over Tokyo

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iTunes Beatles Lincoln Tunnel billboards

Lincoln Tunnel Apple iTunes Beatles billboards

The New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel

Well, the good news is that we’ve lost the Beatles as Manson’s Angels of the Apocalypse. The bad news is that now we have the Beatles cult of personality.

Soviet military parade, Red Square, 1941

Joe Stalin filled the Russian public space with Vladimir Lenin. Now, we have Steve Jobs doing the same here in America with John Lennon.

And then there’s the damage to the Beatles brand. The Beatles magic was their accessibility. Everyone knew that unless sired by a satyr they were never going to be a Jagger or a Richards. But, all you had to do to be a pea in the pod with Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr was to boycott the barber. Apple’s attempt to portray the Beatles as supermen lets the air out of the brand-vehicle’s tires.

Lincoln Tunnel Apple iTunes Beatles billboards

A closer look at the Apple iTunes Beatles billboards installed at the NJ side of the Lincoln Tunnel

iTunes Lincoln Tunnel Beatles billboards at night

The iTunes Lincoln Tunnel Beatles billboards at night

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NYC Apple Store Beatles billboards

NYC Apple Store iTunes Beatles billboards

The Apple iTunes Beatles billboards are a poor implementation of a bad concept — or more likely lack of concept. The extremely high resolution gargantuan images up in the sky seem intended to prove Charles Manson’s belief that the Beatles were the angels of the Apocalypse.

A much better and more interesting plan would have been to use highly-pixelated contemporary newspaper photos or album covers. Grainy pictures from early ’60s TV also would work. The AARP crowd (who saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, bought the 45 vinyl records, went to the Shea Stadium concert, etc.) would immediately relate to these images. Plus, those over 50 might not now be in the habit of listening to MP3s and are unlikely already to have a hard drive full of peer-to-peer download Beatles songs. Properly reintroducing the Beatles would be opening the virtual doors of the iTunes store for the original Beatles fan demographic.

NYC Apple Store iTunes Beatles billboardNYC Apple Store iTunes Beatles billboard

A close-up of the iTunes Beatles billboards installed at the NYC Apple Store

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