Paul McCartney breaks ties with EMI, moves catalog over to Concord
While the Beatles catalog remains with EMI, McCartney has inked a licensing deal with independent label, Concord Music Group to reissue his solo and Wings content. The roll-out begins with the August re-release of 1973’s “Band on the Run,” with new packaging and bonus content.
McCartney has been prolific since the Fab Four’s break up in 1970. The Concord deal includes 14 solo sets and eight Wings albums, as well as such one-off projects as The Fireman, his 2008 release with producer Youth.
As a recording artist, McCartney had already cast his lot with Concord. He left EMI in 2007 and released the Grammy-nominated “Memory Almost Full,” as well as 2009’s “Good Evening, New York City” CD/DVD. His regained the rights of his catalog in February, according to the Wall Street Journal. Over the last few years, McCartney had discussed his dismay with EMI and the feeling that EMI treated acts like "furniture."
The Concord deal includes both digital and physical distribution. While the Beatles remain unavailable via digital download, McCartney’s material is available, but will be more widely so as a result of this deal as the individual projects are reissued. For example, today, fans can download Wings’ greatest hits set, “Wingspan” on iTunes, but not all of the individual Wings albums.
As EMI continues to fall apart, the loss of McCartney’s catalog is just the latest blow. Radiohead left the record company as a recording artist, although its catalog remains with EMI, according to the WSJ. EMI’s owner, private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners, has until June to raise roughly $600 million before it defaults on its Citi loan. EMI has been talking to such competitors as Sony and Universal about licensing the rights to distribute its catalog, but the talks have stalled.