This is just bad. Bad, bad, bad.
You can’t be a coffee shop and a music label at the same time. Starbucks is going down two roads, and it will ultimately cost them. If Howard Schultz is serious about bringing the coffee shop experience back to Starbucks, it’s going to cost a lot of time, money, blood, sweat and tears. It is no time to try to be a whole other business.
It’s time for just the opposite. It’s time to dump everything that is not central to the Starbucks brand and focus. Managing prima donnas like Paul McCartney is not central to the Starbucks brand.
I like Hear Music. I think Hear Music is a nifty thing to sell at Starbucks, and music is a big part of the experience (or what used to be the experience). But it’s not a business to be building if you want to build the best coffee experience in the world.
Sell it, spin it off, partner with it…hell, give it away. But spending valuable resources on building this record label is only going to pull those resources away from taking Starbucks where Howard wants it to go.