Starbucks & Concord Partner On New Hear Music Label
Starbucks and Concord Music Grouphave created a joint record label, Hear Music, that will issue its first release toward the end of the year, and hopes to release a slate of at least eight albums per year.
Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, and Glen Barros, president of Concord Music Group, said the label “will be a primary focus” and Hear will have the right of first refusal on any artist that approaches Concord and Hear simultaneously. The two have previously partnered on Ray Charles’ “Genius Loves Company” and Sergio Mendes’ “Timeless.” Company will be based in Los Angeles with Lombard serving as chief manager of the venture and Barros handling day-to-day activities. Lombard will report directly to the management committee. Hear will be staffed with current Concord and Starbucks employees. Concord Music Group will collaborate with Starbucks on promotion, distribution and marketing for Hear Music outside of Starbucks.
Hear Music began as a chain of music stores that allow customers to burn custom music CDs and listen to any CD in the store before buying it. Starbucks acquired Hear Music in 1999 and has developed a growing music business around the brand.
Formed as a jazz label, Concord has in recent years been emphasizing vocalists who toe the line between jazz and sophisticated pop. Concord, which issues about 100 albums per year, is presently readdressing the Stax/Volt catalog it acquired in its purchased of Fantasy, though there are no plans currently to market the labels reissues or new compilations through Starbucks.
In addition to selling CDs in its coffee shops, Starbucks also has a Hear Music radio station on XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.