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McCartney Catalog Going Digital, But Abbey Road May Be At Risk

It's a Beatles two-fer Tuesday this morning, with a dose of news sure to interest the over-40 crowd. First up, while the Beatles' catalog still isn't available for download on iTunes or any other music service, EMI has announced that Sir Paul's Wings and solo work will soon be released digitally.
It's a Beatles two-fer Tuesday this morning, with a dose of news sure to interest the over-40 crowd. First up, while the Beatles' catalog still isn't available for download on iTunes or any other music service, EMI has announced that Sir Paul's Wings and solo work will soon be released digitally.Just think of it: Band On The Run, Live & Let Die, even Monkberry Moon Delight, all soon available for 99 cents a pop (more?; I wonder if Paul merits premium pricing). Seriously, though, if McCartney's solo work is finally being let loose, can the Beatles and Led Zeppelin -- the last two big digital holdouts -- be far behind?

However, a more suspicious blogger (yours truly) might wonder if there isn't another factor at play here. A quick search of Google News turns up the answer: There is. EMI, the Beatles' British record company, is the subject of rumors relating to a possible multi-billion dollar takeover.

Here's the money quote from the ThisIsMoney.co.uk story:


"EMI has opened its books to three private equity firms that have made approaches with offers of 260p a share, valuing Britain's last major music company at about £3 billion."

That kind of talk has Beatle expert Tim Riley worried. He's concerned that a takeover of EMI by a (presumably heartless) equity firm could put the famed Abbey Road studios at risk. Abbey Road, of course, was made famous by the Beatles album of the same name. It's also where Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, the White Album, and other irreplaceable milestones of modern music were recorded.

Riley is calling on Sir Paul to step in and "save" EMI:


By the end of the month, this fabled 100-year old music industry pioneer could be in the hands of Wall Street sharks -- and their global equivalents -- looking for the next big flip. Please don't let this happen. As one of the wealthiest men in show-business, use your influence and wealth to block the pirates and preserve EMI, either by purchasing a controlling interest or aligning yourself with investors most likely to reinvest in EMI's future.

Certainly, a marriage between Paul and EMI would be more fruitful for him than his last hook-up.

P.S. While we're on the subject of the Beatles and of recording technology (this is a technology Web site, after all), if you're a fan, you owe it to yourself to read Geoff Emericks's memoir, Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles. As the title indicates, Emerick was the recording engineer who worked with George Martin as the Fab Fours' music was captured on vinyl. It's a rare Beatles book from a primary source and the early negative reviews it received did it a disservice.

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