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Paul McCartney Has A Latte To Live Up To

March 21, 2007


mccartney.jpgPaul McCartney aims to relaunch his relatively stagnant solo career by signing with the new joint record label formed by Starbucks and the Concord Music Group.  He is the first major artist to join Hear Music, which was formed earlier this month following a string of successful releases marketed through the coffee chain.  It marks the end of McCartney’s long relationship with Capitol Records and unavoidably highlights the difficulties record companies have faced in recent years.  We should have guessed he would couple with a coffee distributor, since that has been his hair-dye color of choice in recent years.

McCartney plans to release his (still untitled) CD in June.  While this record deal is exclusively with Starbucks’ new label, it will still be available for purchase at other retail outlets.  Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz announced McCartney’s signing at the company’s annual meeting in Seattle.  Sir Paul (via satellite) spoke to shareholders about the upcoming album,”This is something I’ve been working on for a little while now. The songs are in some ways a little bit retrospective. Some of them are of now, some of them hark back to the past, but all of them are songs I’m very proud of.” David Kahne, who co-produced Paul’s 2001 album Driving Rain, is said to be on board for this latest effort.

How could Paul resist signing with a very promising label that could reach a large portion of his audience?  Previous releases sold at Starbucks by Ray Charles and Bob Dylan have proven that coffee drinkers will buy the type of music most labels would only associate with the AARP.  Even though McCartney’s last album Chaos And Creation sold a respectable 533, 000 copies in the U.S., we know he is capable of better numbers.  The suits at Hear Music must have made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. 

Ray Charles popular CD of duets, Genius Loves Company,  went platinum in the summer of 2004.  It proved to be a watershed event for the partners that recently launched the Hear Music label. Concord Records, the issuing label for Genius, and its distribution partner, Starbucks Corp., had unexpectedly struck gold with this release. Starbucks consumers were responsible for one-third of the CD’s sales, well beyond any other retailer that offered the title.  Out of that success, came exclusive deals with other artists like Alanis Morrisette and Bob Dylan.  Sales figures eventually reached a level great enough for an idea like creating the new label to be realized.

Paul McCartney may find this new label to his liking.  As a longtime fan, it is just great to know that new ‘Macca’ music will be coming out soon.  If he had remained with Capitol, paul_mccartney_heather_mills_splashnews-copy.jpgthere is no telling how long we would have had to wait for a new album.  Success may even help to soften the blow he is going to feel when his nasty divorce is settled and Heather Mills receives her big payoff.  Hopefully he isn’t forced to watch her milk that fake leg for all it is worth on Dancing With The Stars as part of the settlement.  Excuse me ABC,  if I am unable to see past her gold-digging ways and applaud her courage.  (If she wants to show me some courage, she should take whatever money he offers and thank him for extending her 15 minutes of fame by another minute and a half.)   

It is unclear whether or not Hear Music has also retained the rights to re-release Paul’s older albums like Ram and Band On The Run or if this new deal applies to his record sales worldwide.  When all is said and done, all parties will likely find themselves sitting on large piles of cash. 

Not that any of them really need it.

(update 3/28/07)

Here’s a little more information regarding the new album that can be found on the fan-site in the ‘yesterday’s news’ section :

Details about Paul’s new album

According to a reliable source Paul McCartney was in New York city a few weeks ago at a private listening party for his new album at a recording studio. A representative from Starbucks’ new Hear Music label, which McCartney has just signed with was present.

The album is mix of new songs and songs recorded before Nigel Godrich rejected them for the “Chaos” album. Paul’s touring band is on 50% of the songs. The rest of the songs use other musicians including string quartets and are songs Paul has done his own instrumentation on. There may be outtakes from the “Driving Rain” sessions on the album.

There are unconfirmed rumors that the album may be released on McCartney’s 65th birthday (June 18th) and called “McCartney III.”


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