The Beatles' back catalogue will be made available for online download next year, Sir Paul McCartney has revealed in a new interview.

The Fab Four are one of the last major bands to prevent their music from being sold through online stores like iTunes and Napster, but agreements to sell the solo works of all four band members seem to suggest that Beatles downloads are on the way.

And in an interview with, Sir Paul has confirmed that all that now stands in the way of buying The White Album or Abbey Road on iTunes is the contractual fine print.

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

"You've got to get these things right," he added.

"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?'"

Sir Paul was speaking ahead of the release of The McCartney Years, a three-DVD set featuring concert footage and videos from his solo career.

And the boxset is released with a special edition of his latest album Memory Almost Full, though he's stressed it's not a way to fleece the fans.

"We differentiated it from the others so you weren't buying the same thing twice," McCartney said. "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."

The former Beatle is currently embroiled in a bitter divorce battle with estranged wife Heather Mills, but thanks to her increasingly erratic TV appearances, Sir Paul has been able to keep a low profile as he nears what is rumoured to be the biggest divorce settlement in UK history.

16/11/2007 09:21:13