Eight months after it began an ambitious project to digitize a lifetime worth of music, artwork, photos and various other property of one of the world's most renowned musicians, Hewlett-Packard revealed May 26 that Sir Paul McCartney's new cloud storage/access system has launched and is open for business.
McCartney's publishing company, MPL Communications, is handling the day-to-day business of using the cloud-stored content for publishing, licensing, sales--and even giveaways, if McCartney so chooses.
McCartney has been one of the world's most-renowned entertainment content creators for two generations. Like many people, his personal collection has been stored all these years on old-school media that's considered at risk.
Not anymore. All of the former Beatle's personal content--home movies, videos, photographs, documents, unreleased music, paintings and numerous other items--are stored in perpetuity on the new private cloud system designed, built and maintained by HP.
"This is quite an undertaking, and the process is ongoing--and will be for awhile," Scott Anderson, HP's entertainment marketing manager, told eWEEK. "We believe there are more than 1 million assets in this library; there are shelves and shelves of boxes containing all sorts of things, personal and business. It all will eventually be digitized."
McCartney has one of the most comprehensive libraries of any artist, much of which has never been viewed before. His library includes images, artwork, paintings, film and videos, as well as master recordings of some of the most popular songs ever composed.
'Like the Library of Congress'
"It's like walking through the Library of Congress," McCartney told the HP team when they started the project. "You can get lost in there."
Additionally, during his career, he has accumulated a vast collection of images, including the cover artwork for the multimillion-selling No. 1 album, "Band on the Run," recorded with one of his post-Beatles bands, Wings. McCartney also has made available a book of photographs taken by his late wife, Linda Eastman McCartney (pictured), on the site.
Some material in the collection will be made free and available to the public for download. McCartney himself will decide 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 a year ago to do the project.
"He [McCartney] is one of the most prolific artists of all time--he's got thousands of hours of videotape that's been taken through his career; he's got artwork, he's got his music, of course," Anderson said. "Much of it is on media that's susceptible [to physical damage]."
McCartney was looking for a company "that he could trust to work with him to preserve his unique assets," Anderson said.
"I've always been interested in creative ideas and new ways of reaching people, so this is a really exciting initiative for me," McCartney said in a press statement. "I hope it will allow people who might be interested to access parts of our archives they might otherwise not be able to. I'm looking forward to working with HP on this project."
Cloud System Enables Web Publishing
So McCartney is now his own cloud-based publisher. Most other well-known pop artists, such as former Byrds front man Roger McGuinn and balladeer Janis Ian, have used their Websites to interact with fans, share music and promote concert appearances, among other things.
But McCartney putting all his personal content into a private cloud for storage and publishing purposes may be a first in the music business. Anderson said the agreement marks the first time that HP has collaborated with an artist in this way.
"He's always been up to speed on technology, so it follows that he would be aware of cloud computing and storage," Anderson said.