How to buy… McCartney III

SDE examines the myriad of coloured vinyl pressings

There was much excitement on Wednesday this week when it was finally clear that Paul McCartney would indeed be releasing a new album this year, and that would be McCartney III.

Any new Paul McCartney album is a big deal, but I think it’s fair to say that his standing/popularity as a solo artist has ebbed and flowed somewhat over the last four decades. When he released Driving Rain in 2001, many people couldn’t have cared less and it stalled at a shockingly low number 46 in the UK album charts. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard from 2005 enjoyed critical acclaim, but it underperformed commercially, to the degree that Paul left EMI after more than four decades with the label to go and seek fresh ideas from Concord Music Group/Hear Music.

Since 2007’s Memory Almost Full, McCartney has issued two ‘proper’ studio albums: 2012’s New and Egypt Station from 2018, both of which used high profile producers like Mark Ronson, Paul Epworth and Greg Kurstin. In fact the last time Paul didn’t have any kind of production assistance was for 1980’s McCartney II. Even Paul’s ‘Fireman’ side-project albums benefit from the sounding board that is Youth, and we know what a great producer he is.

Paul McCartney has actually done something rather clever. Like a filmmaker who needs to put bums on seats, he’s opted for a ‘franchise’ album. You never really know what you’re going to get with a new Macca long-player, but if it’s a ‘McCartney’ album you do know – sort of. The key ingredients are that Paul himself plays all the instruments, he writes all the songs and he produces it. For better or for worse, it’s pure unadulterated, full fat, McCartney. Such a record is likely to produce nuggets of brilliance (‘Maybe I’m Amazed’, ‘Coming Up’) and probably some ‘what-was-he-thinking’ moments too (‘Kreen-Akrore’, ‘Bogey Music’).

One thing that is different is that the marketing machine, the social media, the global reach of the McCartney ‘brand’ is enormous these days. MPL and Capitol Records are not going to sit on their hands and just slip the album out casually on black vinyl and CD, they are going to collaborate and do exclusive deals all over the place to get ‘retail’ interested in Paul’s new record. To that end, they have created a large amount of coloured vinyl exclusives either for certain retailers, or global territories, or both. SDE examines all the options and indicates where you can buy them (if they are still available).

McCartney III: The 333 edition

Amazingly, McCartney III wasn’t announced first by Paul directly, but by Third Man Records, the independent record label founded by Jack White in Detroit, Michigan, in 2001. They promoted this special edition an hour or so before the official confirmation from team McCartney.

What’s different? This was limited to 333 copies and is pressed on ‘yellow-with-black-dots’ vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II by Third Man Pressing. Cover features a yellow dice and the Third Man logo, top right.

Where to buy: It sold out in about 20 minutes. These are now selling for thousands on eBay, even though no one actually has one in their hands yet.

McCartney III red vinyl

McCartney III pressed on red vinyl. Front cover artwork features a red dice.

Where to buy:

McCartney III alternative red vinyl

McCartney III pressed on red vinyl. Like the 333 edition this one is pressed at Third Man Records and is limited to 3000 units. It is distinguished from the *other* red version by the yellow Third Man Records logo, top right.

Where to buy: Paul McCartney’s online shop (but sadly sold out)

McCartney III blue vinyl

McCartney III pressed on blue. Front cover artwork features a the standard white dice.

Where to buy:

McCartney III ‘coke bottle’ clear vinyl

McCartney III pressed on ‘coke bottle’ clear vinyl. This was a Spotify exclusive and fans were emailed with the message “Paul McCartney made you something special”.

Where to buy: Now sold out, although this *was* the link.

McCartney III pink vinyl

McCartney III pressed on pink vinyl. Front cover artwork features a the standard white dice.

Where to buy: Now sold out, but was available at US retailer Newbury Comics

McCartney III white vinyl

McCartney III pressed on white vinyl. Front cover artwork features the standard white dice. This is an indies-only limited edition.

Where to buy:

  • The SDE shop (currently sold out, but hoping to get some more)
  • Rough Trade in the USA
  • Your local independent retailer

McCartney III green vinyl

McCartney III pressed on green vinyl. Alternate front cover artwork features a green dice.

Where to buy: Target in the USA

McCartney III black vinyl

The black vinyl

McCartney III pressed on black vinyl. Standard front cover artwork features a white dice. The irony is that this could become the rarest vinyl since everyone is opting for the coloured varieties!

Where to buy:


What about CDs?

There are no CDs with any kind of bonus tracks, but Target in the USA do have a CD with alternate cover art (green dice rather than white). That same version is also available in JPC in Germany, so since Target won’t ship to Europe/UK then that is probably the best option if you want this.

McCartney III CD with green dice on the cover

Where to buy:

McCartney III standard CD

This is the ‘normal’ CD that is widely available.

Where to buy:

SDE helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.


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Spotify coke bottle green vinyl now available from the Paul McCartney shop


You missed the yellow edition (withouit black dots) and neither the yellow/black nor the rd verdion from third man records has the TMR-logo on the front, you can only identfy this verdion by looking on the limited numer (9200 or 3000)

john alvarez

Just Got My Deluxe White Vinyl Bit It Is Numbered 9625 From The SDE Store Now I’m Really Confused Help Paul Happy Holidays To All

Robert Spinello

Barnes and Noble Blue (2000 US) is one of the rarest.


Me too, copy nr. 3206/9200. In Italy from the official store only red and blue version were available.


My red vinyl purchased from the official web store arrived yesterday. Can someone clear up my confusion? If you go the web store it states that it is limited to 3000 copies worldwide, not talking about the Third Man version here, and yet, the number on the back is 7140/9200.

Paul I.

The McCartney web store original had it limited to 3000.
I read separatly a few days later they increased the amount due to unexpected demand. Seems unfair, they should have done a slightly different version / colour.


The public was lied to about these Third Man hand numbered red vinyl copies being limited to 3000 world wide. There is a run of 9200. All to sell more records

Robert Spinello

There is a second red gatefold edition of 3,000 in the US that sold out in 20 minutes. Up to $100. on ebay.


I was just checking the US Paul McCartney store, and whilst there I noticed that the Third Man red vinyl edition has had its image updated, it now shows the normal red dice sleeve with no Third Man logo, so is this a third red vinyl, a mistake, or was it always going to be the same ‘normal’ red dice sleeve?

Jeffrey R

Hold your horses kids… Here’s the latest and greatest PaulMccartney.com offering

“You’re turning Violet, Violet!!”



Paul, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the Japanese version of the CD, which according to the site has FOUR additional tracks, although no tracklist has been made available anywhere.
I got the yellow vinyl just now through the official site. Hopefully music will match the hype!


The four tracks are probably the secret demo tracks available on the 4 different color CDs that have one extra track on each.


I pre-ordered the Japanese version with said 4 bonus tracks from CD Japan about 2 weeks ago for £25 (including P+P). You can order either the white or red dice cover (only one item per customer) and the bonus A4 2021 calendar seems to be still available!
CD Japan are very reliable and the packing is 1st class.

Jeffrey R

Yellow vinyl available now through Paul’s website. Hurry hurry.



Yes. Rumours of the PM version. It’s Here !!

Peter Mulholland
David H

Got it! Funny how they kind of buried it in the website. Not shown on the Colored LPs page. I did a quick search and it came up. https://shop.paulmccartney.com/products/mccartney-iii-exclusive-yellow-lp

David H

So now there a yellow version coming out and people are asking $300 for it already on eBay?! Who is releasing it? Getting crazy….

Jeffrey R

This one seems a bit shady. All sellers list they have several. Some posts say yellow vinyl then black vinyl. None mention source. I’ll wait on this version.

Brook A Barrett

I bet thirty years from now if you see an album of McCartney III on a shelf somewhere…you are gonna get excited and quickly and quietly check and see what color it is hoping to find a super rare edition. So to my future self and all others…GOOD luck!

[…] ago, long before any of this started happening with, you know, Paul McCartney [a reference to the McCartney III vinyl extravaganza] and all that stuff. But I think it was already something I could see happening. […]


And today we learn there is a 3,000 Worldwide Orange Vinyl Collectors Limited Edition. This is only available direct from udiscovermuisc.com. Good luck getting one asap while you can! :-)

Paul Austin

Better make that 10 vinyl editions. Orange uust entered the stage. UDiscover exclusive.

Mike Thorn

And now in Orange on Universal sites. UDiscover backtoblack etc.


Shame that they didn’t make the cover orange to match the other colored editions.

Martin Kilroy

Now different colour CDs with exclusive secret bonus track – collect them all!
When will this madness end? Even collectors must get hacked off with buying the same album 15 times (not even including the reissue mind)


Agreed….this is unreal, unique bonus tracks for a different colour CD. I’m betting the box set will have it all.


2020, the year McCartney taught me that dice is plural, so it’s “one die”. Sounds almost threatening.


The UK Red vinyl IS different to the Third Man edition, as I received the following clarification:
“I can confirm the version we are selling is hand numbered in silver ink and manufactured in the EU at Optimal Media, Germany.”


I just had an email back regarding who is pressing this and if it it hand numbered as with the US version this is the reply

“I can confirm the version we are selling is hand numbered in silver ink and manufactured in the EU at Optimal Media, Germany.


Paul McCartney store Europe.


This was the red vinyl sold on the UK McCartney store.


Red vinyl


Bravado and uDiscover Germany both state that the gatefold sleeve is hand-numbered on their online stores but Paul’s Official UK Store doesn’t mention any numbering but instead says that it is limited to 3000 Units. Both the Germany stores are sold out at the moment but Paul’s UK store is selling again after being sold out last week, if these vinyls are from the same 3000 why not have identical info on the different websites.


Paul, do you know of the Red Vinyl version if the 3000 is split between the official store UK with Bravado and uDiscoverMusic in Germany or did each of them have 3000 copies to sell (total 9000 copies of the Red Vinyl)


The music had better be good because this is definitely the worst cover out of any McCartney release. Also as the (final) instalment of a trilogy of McCartney album, they could have kept some sort of continuity, that cover looks more like Venus & Mars (Part 2). The gatefold is in keeping with the gatefold photo patchwork off McCartney but that wasn’t really kept for McCartney II. Has anyone seen any photo of the back cover?

Allan K Johansen

Hi Paul,
I know that I’m a bit late to contribute to this discussion, but wanted to conform whether Australian distributers had been mistaken in pricing the ordinary CD at A$ 38.99 and 42.99!!!! No, they were not, these are the prices on the websites of Australian JBHIFY and SANITY, respectively – on behalf of one of the richest musicians in the world. but is he aware of this root or does he not care??


Once upon a time, colored vinyl was unique. Now, it’s seems that almost every release in vinyl is colored. With very, very few exceptions, I hardly ever buy any vinyl except for thrift stores. A new vinyl lp these days will set you back around twenty-five bucks here in the states. I’m sorry, to me, it’s overpriced. But what do I know? To each his own.

Jack DeKarup

I love the first McCartney. I liked the second one when released . I re-listened to it recently as I was thinking about the huge box set. It does not hold up very well at all. His last albums have been okay at best. His colaberation ones[Firemen, for instance} have been great.
If this turns out to be terrible, these editions will be worth nothing to a McCartney collector like myself. Limited or not.

Jamie Crampton

So Spotify as is well known is ripping off artists left right & centre by encouraging people to pay naff all for their non-physical music. And McCartney gives them an exclusive physical album to stick out, knowing it will easily sell out. Sorry I just don’t get it, why give money to those vultures? And yes I know there’s one for actual record dealers, but this sucks.

Ian Burgess

Having just read Paul’s weekly review piece about coloured vinyls, I am glad that I no longer collect vinyl. In my old days, yes I would have wanted all tthe issues, any one missing would not do. Would the Bowie random distribution be better? Whole new discussion. Thankfully though each different colour does not have a different track, or different mix of something on it. That would be the ultimate in rip off. I see the Joe Bonamassa album has a Target exclusive cd with two extra tracks. Presumably not in the limited tin case though.

Gentlemen, open your wallets and repeat after me, help yourself. (Quote from the Goon show)


When the fun stops..STOP.


I have to say that Macca has finished my interest in collecting anything with his releases this year. Flaming Pie was massively overpriced, especially in a year such as this where economic turmoil is affecting so many. I was so pissed off with it that I have actually begun selling some of the Macca boxes I already had, not least because you cant eat CD boxes…
To then produce this absurd number variations of McCartney 3 is really pushing it way, way too far for me. I know nobody has to buy them all, for some it’s a bit of fun, and that’s fair enough, each to their ow an I hope it,makes them happy.
But for me, in the world that we are living in at present – where some of us who are of an age to have been buying his records are 45 years in my case, longer in others are beginning to wonder if we will ever work again – there is something pretty nauseating about it all. I’m out.

Stan Waterman

So very true, Don’t think McCartney himself will know much about this, But to release 333 copies of the ‘ Wasp’ McCartney 3 making it now one of the most rarest Macca records ever is a crime. Should have been auctioned off or raffled for charity Shame on you MPL.


Does anyone know the zip code format required by JPC Germany when completing an on-line purchase order for an address within the United Kingdom – as when you select UK it won’t accept the UK format post code (zip code)?

Lloyd Evans

Are you sure? I use the site regularly without issue. Have just tried now and it works fine


OK Finally completed an order with JPC. I needed to register and create an account, and once completed it accepted my UK post (zip) code. My problem was trying to order an item using their one time order page (that’s without registration or creating an account, and is different to their registration order page) and that one time order page still does not accept the UK post code.

bruce kelso

highest bid for third man 333 yellow vinyl was $ 4 195, 54 bids, INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeff D

Green vinyl “preorders” at Target are sold out. Whatever one thinks of the marketing plan, it seems to be working.


Get the regular vinyl and a can of yellow/red/ etc spray paint. Job’s a goodun.


Excellent this comment made my day

Lloyd Evans


Metal Mickey

As a casual McCartney fan, and a CD user to boot (go ahead, sue me!), I don’t have a dog in this race, but for what it’s worth, when an artist of Macca’s stature releases something in a worldwide limited edition of just 333 units, I can’t help thinking they should have been auctioned (or even raffled) for charity or something… just going to the first 333 Third Man buyers feels a bit random to me, but what do I know…?


I totally agree with this comment. I have been a Vault subscriber and I subscribe to McCartney’s email. I never heard about it from either. Then I get Paul’s email a day later and all the color variations were sold out.

John Kauchick

I read the 333 sale was an hour in advance of any announce. There were rumors of the album. It was gone in 20 minutes. Watching EBay they have gone from $1500-5000. Buyers can only hope sellers get delivery. After release date, many more will go for sale. Will there be a frenzy or fire sale? Who knows. It will be fun to watch. Yes, there are too many shops licensed to sell every color variant. One must choose carefully. I try for the lowest pressings. In general, the industry is not policing itself. Music media and fans are enabling the over production and lack of transparency.


Seems awful ridiculous to grossly overpay for colored vinyl when you can get the black LP for $26.


Anyone given any thought as to the design of the McCartney iii album artwork – a dice has six sides, the McCartney albums 1, 2 and 3 totals 6 sides, the 3 dots of the dice – one for each mccartney album…anything else?
The white vinyl poster – does anyone know what the poster features..is it the same as the red or yellow poster or different?

Graham G

Haven’t been able to find any exclusives for Canada. Looks like the black vinyl for me. ($33 on amazon v $94 to get a coloured vinyl shipped from Europe or the USA).
I like having new shiny things, but cant justify paying three times as much for a pretty colour, even if it does have a handwritten number on it. It only becomes worth something when I die and my kids sell them all off.


this is just stupid! i like the music but now days is just annoying SO MANY “options”, some times is hard to be a fan…

Dr Volume

I think these look fun. Nobody is missing out on extra tracks, just a bit publicity for the record and a lark for those who want to chase down the different editions (although the eBay flippers are doing their best to remove any joy from the proceedings). It’s also a nice gesture to give different manufacturers, retailers & bricks & mortar stores a slice of the action too. I can see why it looks a bit cynical but that’s the reality of the physical music market today. Loads of bands and artists do special editions, and even if they don’t most vinyl and CD editions are by necessity, limited and unlikely to remain ‘on catalogue’ for as long as they used to unless they warrant a re-press (or don’t sell!)
It all goes back to the fact that physical music is competing against Streaming – so this kind of thing is all about keeping the market for things you hold in your hands going. Whether you want a yellow spotted McCartney III or not, we all benefit as lovers of vinyl, CD and box sets.
Macca doesn’t need the cash but he will still want a good crack at the Top 10 of course, even if it’s the same people buying multiple copies. It’s a bit cheeky, but this is not a new thing, in the 90s it seemed for a while every CD single was released as part 1 of a 3 CD set with different mixes. Not quite as underhand as the well documented stories in the 70s of record label reps offering tour jackets and bottles of Scotch to record shop owners in return for a few minutes alone with the chart-sales book and a Biro.


All these efforts to keep the music industry afloat…..
Well I must say that I’m a victim of all these marketing tricks as I purchased 2 copies of the Third Man Records red vinyl.
I will surely be punished by having to pay customs duties as they will be shipped from the US to Belgium. And Belgian customs employees are pretty nasty.


Albeit late to the party, In the last ten years, due to cds from a kind ex colleague, I’ve been discovering Paul’s solo career. Moments of interest, genius, experimentation and mostly happiness and joy. That’s what I get out of his oeuvre.

Paul McCartney has offers there for all people, from hardened beatle collectors to casual fans, we all know one or two of both those extremes. I much prefer this form of marketing over elvis costellos. (See other thread). The multi format marketing doesn’t change the music, and we can all get that at whatever cost we choose.

Me? I really like the green one. And that has put me in an optimistic mood re the upcoming music. I don’t need to own it to associate a cover with the music. (It would be nice, though)

Chris shaw. The wonderous guy from the ‘I am the eggpod’ podcast received dice as a consequence, he reckons, of his buying the Egypt station suitcase. There, it was worth it after all!

To paraphrase Bowie “beatle’s on sale again”. Life is good.

Larry Davis

I’ll just buy the Target green dice CD…I may buy one of the not-as-limited colour vinyl variants eventually…see which one Looney Tunes has in stock…I have a friend who subscribes to the Third Man club, I wonder if he has access to the yellow/black dot or red versions?? I told him watch out if he does…jump at it…as for a deluxe edition in 2021?? Perhaps, and in another colour, like orange…as for those who are complaining, I have no problem with the different colours upfront…it’s not like there is 1 standard colour, then a new one comes out each week afterwards, that would be screwy…this reminds me of what Taylor Swift did with “folklore”, 8 different covers/booklets with diff pics in each & different coloured vinyl, 1 per edition, but first only offered on her website for 1 week (I bought 2, & a shirt, to save on shipping charges and sold 1 to a friend), then one of the covers becomes a Target exclusive (luckily one I did not pick), so I bought that too, then copies come out signed…the regular version sold in most stores, the tree version…but also limited and factory sealed (keeping sealed to retain the value), so I have 3 versions of “folklore” on CD…not going for all 8 CDs or the 8 vinyls, that would be too much…not sure how many different McCartney III’s I will have in the end, but my guess…the Target green dice CD and a different coloured vinyl…all are nice, but I somehow like the coke bottle clear vinyl, dunno why…

Stan Waterman

So how many copies of the Red numbered US, or the UK official site are there 3000 in total or 1500 of each? Somebody at MPL is taking the piss out of all of us!


The red vinyl from Bravado/universal DE also states ‘hand numbered’ 3000.
I’ve got one on pre-order from there and a friend has one coming from Third Man, so we’ll see if they are pressed in the same place when they arrive and if there are 6000 red or 3000.
Personally I love the choice, the collectors on the Hoffman site love the chase to find as many as possible and no one is left without the music.


Regarding the now sold out 333 yellow vinyl with black polka-dot records, I find it offensive they melted down black vinyl copies of “McCartney,” which I consider Paul McCartney’s masterpiece, to accomplish this. If “McCartney III” turns out to be sub-par, then they can melt down copies of that record to make a limited edition polka-dot coloured vinyl version of “McCartney.”

Nathan Thomas

If McCartney himself doesn’t mind, I’m not sure why you should mind so much.


The Sound of Vinyl in Australia still has the spotify version for sale if people are after that.


Just been reading that the Spotify version is only a 130g vinyl more like a flexi disc the STD black edition is listed as a heavyweight vinyl so would assume this is 180g, not sure of other colours but could be 130g or 180g depending on pressings.


To be honest will probably wait for a deal price on a copy – This release strategy s everything that is wrong with McCartney and more importantly the music industry. Milk an opportunity no wonder fans become disillusioned

I will be happy to listen first and look for a deal price as for me £33 for a single colour vinyl is a bit of a joke price

Craig B

Thank goodness I only buy CDs !
I can’t be doing with all this malarkey !

Sascha H.

Elvis would have said: ” What a frog ! ” First the stupid thing with the empty Bowie box, now Macca with his new album. Poor fans. Luckily I am not a fan ( anymore. )


I’m not too optimistic about the music. When Egypt Station was released, he released two singles by the time it was announced. Yet no single , that i know of, has been released as if yet for McCartney III. Not saying it means anything but just an observation.

Thomas Beattie

to quote sir paul back in 79 ive had enough