Sir Paul McCartney inks deal with Starbucks for record release

LONDON - Starbucks' record label launch, Hear Music, has confirmed its first signing is to be former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, who will release his first studio album in more than two years on the coffee chain-owned label.

Last week the Seattle-based chain of coffee outlets announced its label Hear Music, a collaboration between Starbucks Entertainment and Concorde Music Group, will now sign new and established artists to release new material. Previously, Hear Music has only released albums of licensed songs.

The album is planned for release early this summer and will be available at all traditional music retail outlets and Starbucks across the world. The announcement was made at the Starbucks Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, where McCartney made a surprise appearance via satellite.

He said: "For me the great thing is the commitment and the passion and the love of music, which as an artist is good to see. It's a new world now and people are thinking of new ways to reach the people and for me that's always been my aim."

Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, said: "Having the honour of releasing an album by Sir Paul McCartney as our first project under the Hear Music label is in a word, remarkable. This demonstrates how Hear Music can present even the most successful recording artists of all-time with unique opportunities to reach existing fans, as well as a new audience of listeners."

Starbucks has previously released Ray Charles' 'Genius Loves Company', which to date has sold 5.5m copies worldwide and won eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year in 2004.

In 2005, Bob Dylan signed a deal with Starbucks to exclusively sell some of his rarest tracks in its US coffee shops. It followed an earlier deal with Alanis Morissette to sell an acoustic version of her 1990s album, 'Jagged Little Pill'.

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