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Macca takes solo catalogue away as EMI saga rolls on

The solo McCartney and Wings catalogue will be distributed by an independent in the latest development to affect the veteran music group.

The trouble-hit label is being sued by a music copyright administrator in the US, while Paul McCartney is taking his solo catalogue to an independent distributor, writes David Davies. Meanwhile, there are still fears that EMI could be taken over by its principal lender, Citigroup, if it is unable to raise sufficient funds to secure outstanding loans by June. The latest twist in the record company’s unfortunate recent history sees music copyright administrator Bluewater Music Services filing a lawsuit against EMI Music North America with regard to approximately two dozen songs by artists including the Doobie Brothers that were used in compilations and sold as ringtones. The case is due to go to court in May. In another development, one of EMI’s longest-serving artists, Sir Paul McCartney, has transferred distribution rights for his solo and Wings catalogue to the Concord Music Group. The shift marks a further move away from the bosom of the major label system of which McCartney was a part for nearly 50 years; his last solo album, 2007’s Memory Almost Full, came out via Concord, while 2008 spin-off project Electric Arguments, recorded under the moniker of The Fireman, was issued in the UK by One Little Indian. “Since the release of Memory Almost Full in 2007 I’ve had a good working relationship with Concord and enjoyed our mutual love of music,” said McCartney in a statement which also revealed the first fruit of the new deal would be an expanded reissue of 1974’s Band on the Run. The further reduction in EMI’s once peerless back catalogue takes place at a time when the music group’s long-term future remains in doubt. London-based equity company Terra Firma, which owns EMI, is currently seeking to raise £360 million – three times the originally-reported figure – to secure loan agreements through to March 2011. If it fails to do so, there is a chance that it could be taken over by its principal lender, international financial conglomerate Citigroup.