Sir Paul McCartney thinks artists are seizing back the power over the music business, and thinks the argument that MP3 files don't sound as good is silly.

An extensive interview with the former Beatle on the Chicago Tribune website sees McCartney in a talkative mood.

On his decision to leave EMI and sign his latest Memory Almost Full album to Starbucks, he says: "Artists are taking it into their own hands again, and it's really showing the record companies that it's time they get their act together. It's not the end of the world for EMI, they are like family to me."

McCartney reveals that in private chats with long-term associates within EMI before he made his decision, he'd been advised to make some kind of move, with EMI staffers saying, "I really don't blame you man."

On his relationship with Apple, he says: "I've known [Apple founder] Steve Jobs for a little while, and he's a hands-on guy who I can talk to. Strangely enough, that's not always the case. I often met layers of secretaries before I could talk to the guy in charge at my old label. If I call Steve Jobs, I get Steve, and you talk like guys, like a couple of people. That element was great. They became interested in me doing a commercial for the Apple thing. All I had to do was sing the first track of my album. That was more like a music deal than a commercial for me. I didn't have to say, "And I believe in iTunes and Apple, and the iPod is the greatest invention ever." I didn't have to do any of that. So that suited me."

On the debate concerning the faithfulness of MP3 tracks to their original recordings, McCartney points out that when he first got into music he would listen to mono radio, and observes that stereo recordings themselves were something that happened relatively late on in his career.