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Starbucks announced yesterday that Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, has signed on to be the first musician to make an album for the company’s new Hear Music label. The album is scheduled to be released in June, and the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Numerous press reports this morning note that while McCartney remains a popular live act, his most recent album, released in 2005, sold just 533,000 copies in the US.

Still, McCartney told attendees at Starbucks’ annual meeting via satellite that he signed on because he was looking for innovative ways to reach his audience in view of competing technologies and Internet piracy.

Starbucks formed the Hear Music label earlier this month after having considerable success selling other labels’ CDs in its stores, helping to rack up hits for artists such as Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.

In addition to the McCartney signing, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the annual meeting yesterday that that while a recent internal memo focusing on how Starbucks needs to focus on its core business has gotten a lot of attention, the retailer plans to open 10,000 more locations in the next four years and hopes to double sales and profit over the next four to five years.
KC's View:
Schultz’s whole point was that he has written numerous such memos over the years in his role as protector of the brand…which is exactly what a good CEO should do. That, and keep finding ways to get customers walking through the front door.

As for McCartney…well, we hope that this gives him a leg up on the competition. (Not that he needs it.)