LOS ANGELES (Starbucks Coffee Company) - Starbucks Coffee Company, through its Hear Music
brand, and Concord Records (www.concordrecords.com) today released Genius Loves Company, the final recording from music legend and 12-time GRAMMY Award-winner Ray Charles. The CD, which features 12 newly-recorded duet performances with a dozen world-class artists
, marks the collaboration between Concord Records and Starbucks, through its Hear Music
brand, to produce and distribute new recordings.
"Starbucks relationship with Concord Records represents a breakthrough new model for the music industry, transforming how original music content can be created, distributed and marketed to consumers," said Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment. "This model is more efficient, making it easier to deliver music to customers by reducing the time it takes to discover and obtain the CD in our stores."
The collaboration with Concord Records will provide Starbucks with the opportunity to expand its Hear Music catalog to include CDs with original content recorded specifically for sale at Starbucks. The sale of CDs at Starbucks locations also provides Concord Records with a broad new distribution channel that reaches an audience of more than thirty million Starbucks customers each month.
"Through our collaboration, Hear Music and Concord Records have the potential to bring great music back into our customers' lives," said Don MacKinnon, vice president, Starbucks Music and Entertainment. "This relationship creates unique opportunities for each company to share new and original recordings with music enthusiasts and reinforce Starbucks as a place to discover great music."
Genius Loves Company is comprised of exclusive duets featuring Charles with some of today's most accomplished and respected artists. Each artist performing on the CD was hand-selected, and combined with Charles, have won a total of 79 Grammy Awards and sold millions of albums worldwide.
The album includes exclusive tracks from: Natalie Cole, Elton John, Norah Jones, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Diana Krall, Michael McDonald, Johnny Mathis, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and James Taylor.
"Starbucks already provides a sensational service to their customers by selecting and presenting great recordings in their stores," said Concord Records president Glen Barros. "As Starbucks has now taken the next step of participating in the creation of great recordings as well, we are honored that they have chosen Concord to work alongside them in this endeavor. It's tremendously exciting that our first effort together is such a historically important record. With Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles made an incredible final statement. This new collaboration with Starbucks will help expose this amazing recording to a much wider audience."
Genius Loves Company will be available in traditional retail outlets on August 31, and at Starbucks Company-operated locations and on www.hearmusic.com for $15.95 U.S./$20.95 CAN, beginning September 1. To date, Genius Loves Company has shipped over one million copies worldwide.
In support of the album, Starbucks customers that connect to the T-Mobile HotSpot service at participating Starbucks stores will discover exclusive multimedia content of the duet recordings with Charles, including video interviews with artists such as Elton John, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson. In addition, United Airlines will feature a video and audio program on all domestic flights during the month of September to share the incredible music recorded for Genius Loves Company with its travelers.
As the final recording in Ray Charles' legendary six-decade career, Genius Loves Company was produced by Concord Records Executive Vice President John Burk and Grammy(R) Award winner Phil Ramone. Recorded for the most part at Charles' historic studio in downtown Los Angeles, Genius Loves Company, was completed in March 2004.