The Beatles' back catalog won't be appearing on iTunes any time soon, according to Sir Paul McCartney.

Speaking at a media launch in London for the new album by his alias the Fireman, "Electric Arguments," McCartney said Apple Corps and the band's label EMI couldn't agree on terms to release the Beatles' catalog to iTunes and other download services.

"That is constantly being talked of, we'd like to do it," said McCartney. "What happens is, when something's as big as The Beatles, it's heavy negotiations."

He added: "We are very for it, we've been pushing it. But there are a couple of sticking points, I understand. So the last word I got back was that it had stalled, the whole process.

"They [EMI] want something we're not prepared to give them. Hey, sounds like the music business.

"It's between EMI and The Beatles. What else is new."

"We have been working very hard to secure an agreement with Apple Corps to make The Beatles' legendary recording catalogue available to fans in digital form," said a spokesperson for EMI. "Unfortunately the various parties involved have so far been unable to reach agreement, but we really hope that everyone can make progress soon."

"Electric Arguments" is the third album released by McCartney under the Fireman alias with collaborator Youth, although it is the first with vocals. It is out via the indie One Little Indian in the U.K. today (Nov. 24) and ATO/Red in the U.S on Nov. 25.

McCartney, who broke with EMI to release his solo album "Memory Almost Full" via Starbucks' Hear Music label in June 2007, said he was glad he left the major.

"I think the majors at the moment - I'm not dissing them - but I don't think they really know what's going on," he said, speaking at the Fire Station pub in London's Waterloo. "With the download culture, they are floundering a little bit."

He added: "I think I was right at that time, because right after that EMI got sold so I would have been in the middle of a sale situation.

"The other thing is, they've got so many people on their books, like it or not you're just one of them. It's not a great situation, you like to feel like you're among friends so that was why I ended up going independent. And this time it's kind of even more indie."

Asked by Billboard.biz about going up against "Chinese Democracy," McCartney commented: "I never look at who we're in competition with, I don't really feel in competition with anyone, particularly with the Fireman, it's one of those projects - it's not like you're releasing as Coldplay or Guns N' Roses for that matter. I wish them good luck with it, because it's been a long time coming."

McCartney also criticised reality shows such as the U.K.'s "The X Factor," describing it as a "phase we're going through."

"I'm not keen on it, but I watch it like everybody else," he said, adding that such shows were "compulsive viewing - but so is a traffic accident."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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