This story was originally published in December 2010, when the Beatles catalogue became available on iTunes. We are republishing now because the Beatles catalogue is becoming available on streaming.
So you've probably heard: The Beatles' catalogue is now available for legal download via Apple's iTunes store. This development has been extremely well marketed and gotten tons of press. And somewhere in there, you may have seen flashes of irritation dismissiveness, eye-rolling, and complaint from those people who hate hearing about the Beatles, or maybe just hate the Beatles themselves, full stop.
Hating the Beatles is an interesting business. I personally have always enjoyed them. But if you happen to be, like most people, more or less indifferent to them, I can understand the temptation to develop an active hatred, just because it's a lot more interesting than not caring either way. It suggests boldness, passion, and critical thinking on your part, you know? Do it at the right parties, and you can wind up standing in a corner looking like a delightful raconteur, with half a dozen people standing around you hanging on your every word, because they're desperate to convince you that you could not possibly hate the Beatles and must be mistaken somehow.
For a lot of music lovers, though, hating the Beatles is a 101 class in basic contrarianism. So if you're going to do it, you should do it carefully and effectively. Here are some pointers.
1. Make sure you like something interesting. As soon as you’ve announced that you hate the Beatles, the first question on some people’s minds will be what the hell you think is so much better, then, big shot. You need to answer this question in a way that confuses people. You can’t just say “Shostakovich” or “Mobb Deep” or “Dylan,” or else everyone will assume they already have your number: You hate the Beatles because you only listen to classical, or hip-hop, or are still fighting over the sixties. My advice is to pick two or three very different things you enjoy, just to underline that the people you’re talking to don’t know you like that, not yet. Maybe you prefer Chuck Berry, early Detroit techno, seventies German progressive rock, and TLC, all of which are awesome.
2. Pick the right Beatles song to begrudgingly enjoy.