Coffee giant Starbucks officially announces that this summer Sir Paul McCartney will become the first artist to release an album on its Hear Music record label

By Mike Bruno
March 22, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Starbucks has announced that Paul McCartney will become the first artist to release a record on the company’s newly formed Hear Music record label. The record, which is scheduled for an early summer release, will be McCartney’s first studio release of all-new material since 2005’s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. Starbucks made the announcement today (March 21) at its annual shareholders’ meeting in Seattle.

”This is something I’ve been working on for a little while now,” McCartney said of the David Kahne-produced album during a Webcast of the meeting. ”A lot of it’s very personal to me. 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.”

Starbucks has sold CDs in its stores under the Hear Music brand since acquiring the company in 1999. Among its most successful albums are Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company and Sergio Mendes’ Timeless. Hear Music also has its own station on XM Radio.

Previously, Hear Music CDs were sold only in Starbucks stores and specialty-branded retail outlets, but the McCartney CD will be the first album to be released since Starbucks and the Concord Music Group evolved Hear Music into a true record label that will sign and develop artists and distribute their recordings through traditional music channels.

Hear Music worked out a one-record deal with McCartney after meeting with him and his team in the U.K. ”We’ve been approached by a lot of artists who wanted to go direct with Starbucks,” Ken Lombard, CEO of Starbucks Entertainment, explained to ”For us it was about trying to execute our strategy and gain some credibility at the same time. We couldn’t be more excited about partnering up with such an iconic artist like Paul.”

Additional reporting by Michael Endelman