Starbucks heats up the charts -- Prominent coffeehouse play helps out some labels' records

By Raymond Fiore
Updated February 21, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

When Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company producer John Burk thanked Starbucks in his Feb. 13 Grammy speech for Record of the Year, it wasn’t for the caffeine buzz. In fact, the latte purveyor, through prominent counter placement and perpetual in-store play, helped drive sales of the release — a joint venture with jazz label Concord Records and Starbucks’ own Hear Music label — to more than 2 million (and eight Grammys). ”The formulas are changing in the record business,” says Concord Records prez Glen Barros. ”You have to proactively access the consumer — especially the adult consumer.” It worked for Tina Turner and Capitol Records, who partnered with Starbucks for her greatest-hits CD, All the Best, which notched her a No. 2 debut, the highest chart ranking of her career. Watch out, God: Starbucks just might become the omnipresent one to thank come Grammy time.