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Starbucks and the Music Business

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 19th 2005

I wrote an earlier piece called What’s After Starbucks? in which I speculated about entertainment business opportunities modeled after Starbucks.

Today’s Wall Street Journal article At Starbucks, a Blend of Coffee And Music Creates a Potent Mix talks about how Starbucks is impacting the sale of carefully selected music CDs and reviving careers of musicians who had faded into oblivion.

“After receiving a commitment that Starbucks would help Concord license the album, “Zucchero & Co.,” from its Italian distributor, Mr. Barros signed the artist. The 14-song album, which pairs the singer with a lineup of stars including Eric Clapton and Luciano Pavarotti, went on sale at thousands of Starbucks locations and other retail outlets this month.

Mr. Barros knows how powerful a boost from the coffee chain can be. Last summer, his independent jazz label joined with Starbucks to produce and distribute “Genius Loves Company,” a collection of duets between the late Ray Charles and performers such as Norah Jones. Helped by the biographical film, “Ray,” and attention about his death, the record sold nearly three million copies — about a quarter at Starbucks stores — and in February won eight Grammys. No new Ray Charles release in decades had come close to that sales level.”

Perhaps, a natural extension would be to start having live-music and dancing at Starbucks cafes as well, with carefully selected musicians, in carefully selected musical genres!

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