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Starbucks Records Hoped For Venti Success But Only Got A Tall


04/25/2008
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(antiMusic) Starbucks was able to place overpriced coffee houses on almost every corner but their big dreams of making a slash in the music business has gone down about as well as stale coffee. As a result the java giant is "restructuring" and handing over the management of their record label to a real record label. Ken Lombard who was the boss at Starbucks Entertainment was also restructured out of a job.

Starbucks whipped up a lot of excitement last June when they offered java fans a side of "Memory Almost Full," an album by a little known artist named Paul McCartney. The album debuted on the charts at No. 3 and the buzz was steaming that Starbucks' Hear Music might just revolutionize the music industry. The only problem is that when customers were offered music from musicians that didn't happen to be a key member of the biggest selling band in the history of universe, the customers opted to buy lattes instead. Maybe they thought they'd sell more coffee to customers if they put out a sleep inducing album from Kenny G? Here is the official PR word on this big change:

In its continuing efforts to transform the company and reduce costs, Starbucks today announced it is restructuring its entertainment business to focus on digital strategy and core content with music and books. As part of this restructuring, Starbucks will continue its relationship with the Concord Music Group and will turn over the day-to-day management of the Hear Music Record Label to Concord. By assuming responsibility for current and future Hear Music recording artists, Concord will leverage Starbucks curatorial voice to provide music offerings for customers that are fresh and unique.

Starbucks will continue its relationship with the William Morris Agency to identify book projects that it can offer in its stores as well as provide strategic counsel on opportunities in the entertainment space. With the Apple and AT&T strategic relationships, Starbucks will look for ways to enhance the customer experience through the use of wi-fi and other in-store technology.

As a result of the Entertainment reorganization, Ken Lombard, senior vice president and president of Starbucks Entertainment who resides in Los Angeles, has left the company to pursue other business interests. Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, has been promoted to senior vice president and will assume the leadership helm of the Entertainment category as part of his responsibilities. [Hey it looks like their VPs are just like the US VPs! With the day to day operations turned over to another company this new guy won't have much work to do so he can spend his time in a secret bunker and do whatever VPs do in such places.]

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