HP Expands Macca’s Digital Archive


Paul McCartney’s new interactive portal, orchestrated by HP, showcases a half-century of digitised assets

Phase II of Sir Paul McCartney’s evolving personal cloud archive and CRM system, designed and built by Hewlett-Packard’s cloud group, launched on 12 January, showcasing what IT now can provide in a cloud service.

The new portal contains most of McCartney’s newly digitised collected assets from a half-century of trotting the globe and impressing millions of people with his composing and performing talents.


During the last 18 months, HP has digitised a hefty portion of the 1 million-plus assets in McCartney’s vast library, one that Sir Paul himself described as something similar to the Library of Congress. “You could get lost in there,” he said.

McCartney has been one of the world’s most-renowned entertainment content creators for two generations. Like most people, his personal collection has been stored all these years on old-school media that’s considered at risk. Not anymore, however.

The former Beatle has been an archivist since long before “Yeah Yeah Yeah” was a pop music statement. Virtually all of his personal content – home movies, concert videos, photographs, awards, documents, released and unreleased music, paintings and numerous other items – are now stored in perpetuity on the new private cloud system designed, built and maintained by HP.

The free-to-the-public version of PaulMcCartney.com offers news about his upcoming appearances, blogs and articles from various media sources, and links to all his post-Beatles music and concert footage, but only in brief swatches. For a $50 (£32) fee, users can become premium members and have full access to everything, including every song and concert video stored on the site.

“The new website is really going to be fascinating. It has a lot of ideas that haven’t been done before,” McCartney says in an introductory video on the site. “Essentially, it’s a great service for the fans – if anybody wants to look up what I’m doing. So the idea is to intrigue people and bring them into our world … It’s all the stuff we can give that nobody else can give.

Cloud-based archive

The cloud-based archive is the public face for the digital library HP built for him, Scott Anderson, HP vice president for Customer Communication, told eWEEK. It’s all architected and built using HP BladeSystem and ProLiant servers, 3PAR and StorageWorks arrays, and HP’s own tape archive and networking hardware and software.

“There are a ton of cool features. First of all, he (McCartney) can go as deep as he wants to with what he shares with his fans. Secondly, users can customise their views of all his things. You can basically get lost in it,” Anderson said.

Purchasing premium status also sanctions Sir Paul’s fans to be interactive on the site. For example, there is a geographic view of the site that enables users to click on a particular location on the world map (say, Moscow), where McCartney has performed, and then upload their own video, photos and/or comments on the concert they attended.

“So they now can add (their own content) to the digital library, experience and be part of it, and connect with each other in interesting ways,” Anderson said.

Other music-related facets of the site include links to every recording he has made since the Beatles broke up in 1969; all the set lists for every concert McCartney has performed since then; every instance of every song played in a public concert; where they were performed (and in what language); and many other information points.

Users can create their own playlists of favorite songs, or just “tune” to “Radio Paul” to serve up random continuous McCartney music.

Roots Studio

There also is a feature called Roots Studio, into which HP has imported “stems” of the songs, so that a user can actually dial up and down the bass line, the drums, the vocals, guitars, and other instruments on each one to get a customised listening experience, Anderson said.

McCartney also has saved a vast collection of images, including the cover artwork for the multimillion-selling album, “Band on the Run,” recorded with one of his post-Beatles bands, Wings. The 69-year-old musician also has made available a book of photographs taken by his deceased first wife, Linda Eastman McCartney, on the site.

Some material in the collection will be made free and available to the public for download. McCartney himself is deciding as time goes on what goes public and what will be licensed. His compositions are often used in motion pictures, television and web stream commercials.

Lynn Anderson, who has the unusual title of vice president of Influencer Marketing for Enterprise Systems at HP, told eWEEK that McCartney’s people approached HP two years ago to do the project.

McCartney’s publishing company, MPL Communications, is handling the day-to-day business of using the cloud-stored content on PaulMcCartney.com for publishing, licensing, sales-and even giveaways, if McCartney so chooses.

You can take a tour of the site here. For more detail on HP’s deployment of the site, go here.

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