Former Beatle Ringo Starr will release a selection of his back catalogue albums and a new retrospective compilation album digitally on 28 August.

EMI has collected Starr's best solo tracks into a career-spanning album, Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr. This album (available as both a CD and a special edition CD/DVD) is also scheduled for release (physical and digital) on 27 August.

Starr's four back catalogue albums Sentimental Journey, Beacoups of Blues, Ringo and Goodnight Vienna will be made available through iTunes and other digital music services starting 28 August, EMI has confirmed.

The move marks the first time music from Ringo Starr has been made available through digital music services on a global basis - and also marks a seismic shift in the manner in which the former Beatles regard online music services.

Music from the artist will be made available through iTunes Plus and also through other services offering EMI's premium DRM-free music.

Ringtones from the artist will also be made available through relevant digital services.

The move comes as speculation that Apple will unleash its next-generation iPods in September. These will include an iPod nano capable of playing video on its larger screen, and a widescreen, OS X-equipped video iPod.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs set speculation in motion when he showed tracks and images from The Beatles during his Macworld San Francisco keynote speech.

Since that speech, Apple Inc and Apple Corps (the Beatles' company) have amicably settled all outstanding disputes between them. That move set speculation in motion claiming that music from the band would be made available through iTunes at some future point.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full album has since been made available for online sale, as have many albums made by the late John Lennon.

The widow of George Harrison - whose collection of songs, including enduring classic track, My Sweet Lord, remain unavailable through online services - recently added to the debate when she confirmed that all parties with an interest in music from the Beatles had agreed to make the music available legally online, though she warned this may not now emerge until next year.