Everything old is new again ... the appetite for Beatles nostalgia seems unquenchable. Photo: Supplied
If buying music was simply a practical, sensible affair made on a rational basis, there would be no question that the release on Friday of a new box set of Beatles albums would matter little. As distinct from the weight, which is 13kg, or the price, which is a far from little $550.
For a start, it contains no new music from a band that stopped recording more than 40 years ago, the vaults pretty much emptied out of alternate versions and studio offcuts for the mid-'90s anthology documentary series.
Then there is the fact that, inspired by the incredible sales of that anthology series and the realisation Beatles fans will buy and buy at this time of year, every year, EMI finds some sort of Beatles product to release or re-release. (It's the profit margin, stupid.)
The latest box set repackages the music and images of John, Paul George and Ringo. Photo: Supplied
And, finally, this is far from an adaptation of new technology. Yes, they are the product of the remastering process that culminated in 2009's CD box sets of both stereo and mono versions of all the albums. And yes, the sound quality of those remasters was genuinely astonishingly better than the CD versions foisted on us for two decades and therefore justifying, even for casual listeners, replacing old with new.
But, people, be sensible: this new box of the remastered albums is on vinyl records. You know, black plastic, 12 inch (never 30cm) circular objects superseded by CD, which in turn was superseded by digital formats. It is what's described in almost hushed and holy tones by audiophiles as 180g vinyl - that is, thicker than standard records and therefore offering a richer tone. But still, you couldn't be more out of date if you were defending boys being boys at St John's College.
But here's the thing: buying music was never, is never, purely sensible or rational. And not just for tragic little music nerds like me. Take a look at the demographics of people buying Beatles albums, in any format, and you'll see we are talking about twenty and thirtysomethings as well as their parents and grandparents.
We buy music still because it means something more than three or four minutes of transient pleasure, and we hold onto music because it is a tangible memory, a steady reference point. And for many, even in an age of 140-character conversations and music libraries, because it is a physical representation of that memory.
Unless you subscribe to the idea that vinyl sounds better than CD - a subjective argument which has no end - you don't buy vinyl for its practicality: it gets dirty and damaged more easily; it takes up room and can't be played on the run or in the car; and you can't email a track to a friend.
You buy it because the sheer, simple pleasure of sliding the slightly heavy vinyl out of its plastic and paper inner sleeve is hard to describe but palpable. It doesn't just feel more substantial, it feels more real than the CDs.
You buy it because the act of lowering the arm towards the spinning vinyl and hearing the sound of contact takes you back to sitting in your room and putting this, or any other, record on when you needed solace or joy or diversion. And while you listened, maybe poring over the minutiae of the covers for Revolver and Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band; or looking at the photos, presented in something other than CD-size miniature, like the boyish faces peering over the balcony of the EMI building on Please Please Me, or the collection of portraits which came with the ''white'' album.
Understanding this, a reasonable portion of this box's bulk is a large, beautifully presented photo album-style collection of familiar and little-known photographs.
So, yes, common sense says there's no need to get excited by "new" versions of some of the best known music of all time. But since when has common sense ruled the music we love and the reasons we love it?
The Beatles' 14-album box set is released on vinyl on Friday through EMI.