The first image that came to mind when Music Ally made us aware of BlueBeat Music and its insanely cheap download service, which includes Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and a slew of artists, was a lone programmer in a locked, windowless room with a massive server full of ripped files, a surplus of NoDoz, and a willful ignorance of the recent GrooveShark and AllOfMP3 unpleasantness.
That guy appears to be one Hank Risan of the Museum of Musical Instruments. And he seems to have looked squarely in the eye of litigious record label legal eagles and various judges who've sided with them, and then figuratively dropped trou and shot 'em a moon. The entire 2009 Beatles Remasters—the mono versions, even!—are on there! FOR 25 CENTS A TRACK!
That physical box set, which is actually a stunning thing to hold in your hand, currently sells for about $300. And it should be noted that most of what was done in the remastering process is undone by the MP3 encoding process (BlueBeat's format). Still, the whole point is that The Beatles and its record label Apple—plus Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and AC/DC—are notorious holdouts in the digital revolution. The push to get them to sell online and the deals and machinations involved with that effort are tougher to get over than "Stairway to Heaven." For someone to just come along and slap these artists' music up for a ridiculously low price is nothing short of bananas.
It's at once hilarious, shocking, exciting, punk as hell, and, well, tempting to take advantage of before cops swarm this site. The streaming does work—we were listening to The Beatles "Come Together" in the office moments ago, purely for journalistic purposes. But no one here is turning over his credit card info to BlueBeat, not, at least, until we hear from Risan, ask him what we're missing here, what he plans to do when the labels show up with papers (upon which "GrooveShark" will surely be scratched out and replaced with "BlueBeat").
Risan didn't immediately return our calls or e-mails. He's probably sifting through phone messages and cease and desist letters while frantically trying to keep his servers from crashing.