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 and long-desired arrival in the digital realm next year.
McCartney tells Billboard.com that "it's all happening soon. 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."
McCartney adds that any delays in bringing the Fabs' 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 explains. "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?!"
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 and a wealth of rare and unreleased material. McCartney says he was initially not inclined to do a video collection -- "It's almost like your memoirs; you want to wait 'til your sort of done," he explains -- but was convinced by director Dick Carruthers and executive production consultant Ray Still.
"They sold me on it," says 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. They really did all the work; I just sort of approved and smiled and admired what they were doing."
"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.
"We differentiated it from the others so you weren't buying the same thing twice," McCartney says. "It's a completely new album, in a way, and for people who don't have the (original) one, you get the regular album as well. It's nice to do that."