Sir Paul McCartney is to make his solo back catalogue available for digital download.

The announcement raises hopes that the Beatles' music will soon follow.

The deal with Parlophone records, a subsidiary of EMI, begins with the star's first solo album, McCartney.

It spans his Wings output, including 1974 classic Band On The Run, and runs up to his last studio album, Chaos And Creation In The Backyard.

Tony Wadsworth, chairman of EMI Music UK, said: "Paul McCartney's post-Beatles catalogue, spanning four decades, is one of the greatest treasures of popular music.

"EMI is proud to be introducing Paul's music to the digital marketplace."

The exact date for the online release is yet to be announced.

EMI is said to be negotiating the release of the Beatles' back catalogue as downloads for the first time.

Industry experts predict the rush to download them would be so great that the top 10 chart would be entirely made up of Beatles hits.

Sir Paul has a home at Peasmarsh, near Rye.