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McCartney, Starbucks Hear Music

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NEW YORK Starbucks has long sold compilation CDs, but today took the venture a step further by signing ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to its newly formed music label.

The label, Hear Music, is a joint venture between Starbucks Entertainment and Concord Music Group.

The Seattle-based company held a shareholders meeting at which McCartney appeared via satellite to introduce the label.

Scheduled for summer release, the untitled album from McCartney will be sold at Starbucks as well as music retail stores.

McCartney told attendees, "For me the great thing is the commitment and the passion and the love of music, which as an artist is good to see. It's a new world now and people are thinking of new ways to reach the people, and for me that's always been my aim."

In a statement, Starbucks Entertainment president Ken Lombard called McCartney's signing with Hear Music "remarkable." He continued, "This demonstrates how Hear Music can present even the most successful recording artists of all time with unique opportunities to reach existing fans, as well as a new audience of listeners."

Glen Barros, president, CEO of Concord Music Group, added in a statement, "I believe that McCartney fans, like myself, will find that this album connects them to everything that they've always loved about Paul, yet also delivers a new personal dimension that shows his continued evolution as an artist. It is a truly profound recording."

Ray Charles' CD compilation of duets by Charles and artists including B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole and Norah Jones was one of the first productions from Starbucks' partnership with Concord, an independent record and music publishing company.

Starbucks' shares closed up 89 cents today at $32.27.