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McCartney: Beatles likely to go digital in ’08

Paul McCartney is predicting the Beatles’ catalog will make its long-awaited and long-desired arrival in the digital realm next year.
/ Source: Billboard

As he rolls out a new DVD and expanded edition of his latest album, Paul McCartney is predicting the Beatles’ catalog will make its long-awaited arrival in the digital realm next year.

“It’s all happening soon,” McCartney told ”Most of us are all sort of ready. The whole thing is primed, ready to go — there’s just maybe one little sticking point left, and I think it’s being cleared up as we speak, so it shouldn’t be too long.

“It’s down to fine-tuning, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be happening next year, 2008,” he said.

As a group, the Beatles rank among the highest-profile holdouts in putting their catalog online, but a recent settlement to a lengthy trademark dispute between Apple and their company, Apple Corps Ltd., was seen as finally clearing the way.

McCartney said any additional delays in bringing the Fab Four’ music to the Internet have been due to “contractual” issues as well as deliberate planning by all parties involved.

“You’ve got to get these things right,” he said. “You don’t want to do something that’s as cool as that and in three years’ time you think, ’Oh God, why did we do that?!”

The solo catalogs of all four Beatles have been available for download since October, when the music of George Harrison went digital. Apple has not said when it expects to release the Beatles’ catalog, though the market has been expecting it since the trademark settlement in February.

In the meantime, McCartney is giving fans plenty to hear —and see.

“The McCartney Years” is a three-DVD set that features videos and concert footage from throughout his solo career, including newly recorded McCartney commentary tracks as well as rare and unreleased material.

McCartney said he was initially disinclined to do a video collection — “It’s almost like your memoirs; you want to wait until you’re sort of done,” he explained — but was persuaded by director Dick Carruthers and executive production consultant Ray Still.

“They sold me on it,” said McCartney, who served as the set’s executive producer. “They cleaned up the picture and sound, and I was like, ’Geez, I’ve never heard it like this. I’ve never seen it like this,’ so I started to get excited.”

“The McCartney Years” comes out in tandem with an expanded edition of his latest album, “Memory Almost Full.”

The new version features three bonus tracks — including a rare instrumental called “In Private” — videos for the singles “Dance Tonight” and “Ever Present Past” — and a DVD from his June 7, 2007, concert at London’s Electric Ballroom.