Exclusive: McCartney Goes Digital, Beatles 'Virtually Settled'
Paul McCartney's new album, "Memory Almost Full," will be his first solo release available for download and streaming on PCs and mobile phones. The set is due June 5 via Starbucks' new Hear Music labePaul McCartney's new album, "Memory Almost Full," will be his first solo release available for download and streaming on PCs and mobile phones. As previously reported, the set is due June 5 via Starbucks' new Hear Music label. In addition, McCartney tells Billboard in an exclusive interview to be published tomorrow (May 11) that a deal to finally make the Beatles catalog available for sale online is "virtually settled."
As part of its digital marketing strategy, Starbucks plans to give "Memory Almost Full" prime positioning in its Hear Music area in the Apple iTunes Store. The digital distribution deal for McCartney is believed to pertain solely to the new album and not back catalog.
However, the pact signals increased willingness on the part of the former Beatles to make music available for consumption online. Music from the Beatles and the band's former members has been conspicuously missing from digital distribution offerings, and a glaring content hole for operators of music download and subscription services.
Available material has been limited to a handful of McCartney collaborations with the likes of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, select solo records from Ringo Starr and John Lennon & Yoko Ono's "Double Fantasy."
Efforts to clear the Beatles-related music for digital distribution have been previously held up by a long-running trademark feud between iPod/iTunes-owner Apple Inc. and Apple Corps., the Beatles label. The two sides finally settled the dispute in February, opening the door to clear the catalogs for distribution via iTunes and other digital retailers.
Read the exclusive Billboard Q&A with Paul McCartney in the May 19 issue of Billboard, on newsstands and online tomorrow..