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Joni Mitchell sells out to Starbucks   Print


West Australian
July 25, 2007

Joni Mitchell is following the lead of Paul McCartney in joining with the coffee giant Starbucks to release her comeback album.

Hear Music, a record label formed in partnership with Starbucks and the Concord Music Group, said Mitchell is its second signing. Shine, her first album of new compositions since 1998, will be released on September 25.

McCartney's album Memory Almost Full came out last month and was played relentlessly at Starbucks franchises, where listeners could purchase it with their coffee. The disc has sold 447,000 copies, 45 per cent of them in Starbucks stores, the company said.

The new venture has attracted interest from veteran artists both because the music business is collapsing around them, and their fans are much more likely to be spending time in Starbucks these days than in music stores.

Mitchell worked with Hear Music two years ago as it released a disc of favourite Mitchell songs selected by various artists. She had essentially retired from making music and said this project was one of the things that rekindled her interest, said Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment.

Mitchell wrote nine of the 10 songs on Shine, the exception being an adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling poem "If."

She described it as "as serious a work as I've ever done" with some dark lyrics.

Earlier this year, Mitchell was co-director of The Fiddle and the Drum, a ballet based on her music that debuted in Canada. She is also planning an exhibit of her paintings in New York this autumn.

Hear Music expects to sign one more artist this year and eight in 2008, and is looking for a mixture of new and established artists, Lombard said.

One role model for a veteran artist adapting to rapidly changing times, Prince, recently gave away thousands of copies of his CD through a newspaper in England. Lombard said not to expect a Mitchell album offered for free to customers who buy a frozen latte.

 

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