Tuesday, June 05, 2007
A cuppa joe -- and Paul
I wonder where Paul McCartney's new album is going to lead Starbucks.

If you haven't heard, the former Beatle's new record, "Memory Almost Full," is his first with Starbucks' label, HearMusic. As part of the album's rollout, Starbucks is playing it nonstop Tuesday in its thousands of locations.

Talk about exposure -- and talk about another nail in the coffin of the record industry as it's currently constituted.

Sir Paul didn't get to be one of the richest artists in the world by doing things in conventional ways, and he's making the most of current marketing methods with "Memory Almost Full": taking advantage of Starbucks' muscle, releasing "Memory's" songs on iTunes (all his solo albums are also now available), getting an XM channel devoted to him for the day.

(Incidentally, the album's pretty good. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-minus; I'd rank it above average, not as good as "Band on the Run" or "Tug of War" but ahead of late-'70s Wings or the uneven "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.")

It'll be interesting to see where Starbucks takes things from hear -- uh, here. There's little reason for Starbucks to become a CD outlet -- why fill up limited space with records? -- but it probably won't be long until they add listening-downloading stations to their wi-fi. Like the song that's playing with your coffee? Turn on that laptop (or, more likely, phone) and purchase away.

And the old-style middleman, the corporate label, will keep becoming less necessary every day. Few will miss that; about the only thing I miss now is being able to physically handle a booklet and lyric sheet. But I miss 12-inch LP covers, too.

Anyway, it'll do until we start having chips inserted in our heads.
Starbucks already has Starbucks Hear Music Coffeehouses in four markets.

Additionally ten stores have "media bars," which allow users to create custom mixed CD's and burn them on site.

And - as a Barista... McCartney all morning drove me insane. (And due to a glitch, he played all day yesterday as well.)
I just stopped in at my local Starbucks and they had the music turned down so low I couldn't even hear it. Then they didn't have the deluxe version of the album that I was looking for. It was rather disappointing. But I picked up the album anyway, even though I've had an advance copy for well over a month.

The albums amazing. It's one of his best in a long time. It's very melodic, upbeat, and quite different than some of his other recent music. It's very creative. I strongly recommend buying it.
Thanks for the info, Chris. Shows what I know. I'll have to find out how those stores are doing with their music sales ...
The very idea of playing the same CD over and over again, all day, has got to be the cruelest thing I've ever heard of doing to your employees. Good or bad, how could you expect staff to listen to the same album 10 times in a shift?

I checked the four Starbucks I pass everyday walking to work (NYC), and all were markedly emptier than usual. With all the caffeine in the air, the free stuff they drink, and the same tunes repeating like so sort of Guantanamo torture, it's a wonder some Starbuck's employees didn't "go postal" yesterday.

And I probably shouldn't, but here goes ... when Paul tried to shove his "Freedom" down our throats at the 9/11 benefit, that was his last straw with me. I had kept my mouth shut after the embarrassing "Standing Stone" years earlier, though the album should have secured his exit from the record industry.
You have to hand it to McCartney...he is a shrewd businessman for working this deal with Starbucks. The actual deal, however, is getting more attention than the content of the CD which is horrible. "Ever Present Past" is a rewrite of "My Brave Face"...HELLO...doesn't anyone else see the similarity here? Print out the lyrics to "Dance Tonight" and read them. This song might actually have been ghost-written by his daughter Beatrice. I love most of McCartney's catalog and long for the days of Ram, Red Rose Speedway, etc. but i'm afraid he should have called this CD "Talent Almost Gone".
Chris. Just be thankful it wasn't something from the 1980s.
An LP would be nice in there, well for me, I still rather listen to music on and 12" LP then a CD any day, but it isen't very portable, so the public wants a quicker in and out.
I'm just saying iTunes and XM Radio and a like are not bad, but a good way of getting the music out there, but vinyl tickles me so.
So where is all the vinyl?

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