McCartney signs with Starbucks

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BLUFFTON, S.C. -- After weeks of speculation, Paul McCartney is now officially the first artist signed to Hear Music, a new joint label formed by Starbucks and the Concord Music Group. The as-yet-untitled album is due in early June; its release on Hear Music marks the end of McCartney's decades-long association with Capitol.

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

As previously reported, Starbucks will primarily handle A&R for the collaborative initiative, while Concord will head up marketing, promotion and distribution of the label's product outside the coffee shops. The Hear Music name has been used since 1999 for compilations and co-releases at Starbucks; it will now apply exclusively to this partnership.

Starbucks' profile as a music retail outlet has jumped significantly in the past few years, especially following the success of Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company," a joint production with Concord that scored eight Grammy awards. The company has also struck deals to release exclusive albums by Bob Dylan and Alanis Morissette.

McCartney's last studio album was 2005's critical favorite "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard," which has sold 533,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
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