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Originally published March 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 12, 2007 at 6:46 PM

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Starbucks launches Hear Music record label

Starbucks expanded its push into the entertainment business today, launching...

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — Starbucks expanded its push into the entertainment business today, launching a record label with the same brand — Hear Music — stamped on the compilation CDs it sells in coffeehouses.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said it was partnering with Concord Music Group to launch the record label, based on the two companies' existing deal to release albums under the Hear Music brand.

Starbucks said the new Los Angeles-based label will work with established artists along with seeking to develop new artists. In a statement, the companies said the label will "advocates creative control for artists and encourages musicians to stretch and take risks."

Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks' entertainment division, will lead management of the new label, working with Concord Music Group President Glen Barros and reporting to a management committee.

Starbucks has been pushing its brand beyond the world of coffee in recent years to embrace music, books and even a movie. The company also has opened four hybrid Hear Music Coffeehouses, where customers can purchase music from thousands of titles.

Starbucks and Concord's past ventures include the Ray Charles compilation "Genius Loves Company," which featured the music legend singing classics with a variety of musical guests. The album has sold more than 5 million copies, and won multiple Grammys.

"This announcement is a natural next step in our entertainment strategy," Lombard said in a statement.

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