Eloise Smith, 23, posted a reaction video on TikTok immediately after listening to “Now and Then,” the Beatles song released on Thursday.
“I can’t believe it’s 2023 and I’m thrilled to hear a new Beatles song for the first time ever,” she wrote in a caption to the video.
In an interview, Ms. Smith, a civil servant who lives in Manchester, England, said she is a third-generation fan: her grandmother introduced her father to the Beatles, and her father introduced her to her.
“I was a year old when George Harrison died,” she said.
Ms Smith, who has a tattoo of the band’s “Abbey Road” album cover on her forearm, said she felt “thrilled” weeks ago when she heard about the song “Now and Then”. She added that the ability to instantly interact and connect with other fans of the band via social media made the experience of hearing the new Beatles song richer.
“Instead of just staying in your bubble of friends, you can talk to people all over the world about it,” she said.
The Beatles came late to digital media. The group did not sell downloads of its songs on Apple’s iTunes store until 2010, seven years after opening for business. As streaming became the main outlet for music fans, the Beatles once again held out, waiting until 2015 before making the band’s work available on Spotify, Apple Music and other platforms.
The decision to go digital has allowed new generations of listeners to more easily discover the group that appealed to throngs of screaming fans in the 1960s. Now, Gen Z listeners regularly post Beatles-related videos on social media platforms.
“This song is my Roman Empire,” one listener wrote. Tik Tok post, in reference to a meme that claims men think about the Roman Empire at least once a day. Many people responded in the comments that the video brought them to tears. “Sobbing,” they wrote. Others said they were excited to listen to the song with their grandparents.
Skylar Moody, 24, said she spent most of Thursday trying to avoid spoilers “from time to time.” As a huge Beatles fan, her social media presence was almost entirely dedicated to all things Beatles, and she wanted to record her reaction to her first listen, which meant waiting until she was done working. She kept her phone on silent all day, afraid she’d accidentally hear a snippet of “Now and Then” while surfing the Internet.
Mrs. Moody, who lives in New Jersey and goes, appropriately @lucyinthesky.lar She said, on TikTok, that she became a Beatles fan after watching “A Hard Day’s Night,” the band’s 1964 film, during a music history class in high school. She described the Beatles’ online fanbase as “very diverse and also unified.”
“No matter your age or demographic, we can all come together in one agreement and that is that we love the Beatles,” she said.
“This is where we find our people now,” she continued. It’s so easy to use social media and find a fan community of people you can talk to who will understand you.”
Late Thursday afternoon, she filmed a reaction video of herself listening to “Now and Then” in her car. “I’m listening to the Beatles! In 2023!” she exclaims, holding her face in a two-minute clip describing what she hears.
The Beatles’ Apple Corps described “Now and Then” as the group’s “final song.” It is the third since John Lennon’s death in 1980, after “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” in the mid-1990s. All three were based on home demo recordings made by Mr. Lennon.
“My heart feels so heavy right now, but in a good way,” Ms. Modi said in another TikTok video, adding: “We are experiencing their last song together, and this will go down in history.” I’m so glad that we were able to share it all together and that we’re able to share our thoughts like this online with people who get them.
Ms Smith, a civil servant in England, said she would try not to burn out “every now and then” in the coming days. “I’ve been listening to it every now and then to get a taste of it, because it’s a big deal,” she said.
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