It seems like every musician in the world wants a piece of Starbucks. Ray, Bruce and Alanis have all made the headlines for dealing with the coffee chain in one way or another. Now it’s the turn of Bob Dylan.
Starbucks will exclusively stock Dylan: Live At The Gaslight 1962, a collection of unreleased versions of songs performed at a cafe 43 years ago.
Following the critical and commercial successes of Genius Loves
Company – the last album by Ray Charles (CDs) – Starbucks have been
aggressively moving into the music business. But it hasn’t pleased too
When the coffee chain announced they would exclusively stock the
acoustic version of Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette (CDs), HMV Canada
reacted by yanking all Alanis Morissette products off their shelves
And Bruce Springsteen (CDs) was less than pleased when his album Devils
And Dust was banned from the store for containing a song about bumming
a prostitute. And Ray Charles was so upset about Starbucks selling his
album, he promptly died out of spite. Actually, that last one might not
And now it’s the turn of Bob Dylan (CDs), once a figurehead of the
counterculture and a beacon for not selling out, to have his music
bought by smug caffeine-heads. The official line that Starbucks are
taking is that the chain provides alternative music that isn’t being
sold at large record stores that tend to focus on chart music.
"That disenfranchised customer is very much a part of the Starbucks
customer base," according to the head of the Starbucks entertainment division, Ken Lombard.
It sounds like a noble thing to do, to focus on the consumer. But aren’t there thousands
of independent music stores, already struggling from the competition of
the big guns, that will be further hurt because an
aggressively-franchised coffee shop wants exclusive rights to a number
We’ll sidestep the argument about Dylan’s talent as a musician. After all, for everyone that thinks he was a visionary, there’s someone else who thinks he was never anything more than a boring droning git who wouldn’t know a tune if one got rammed up his bum.
It’s not the first time that Dylan has decided to buddy up to a huge
corporation to sell his music. Last year, a compilation CD of his was
exclusively sold at Victoria’s Secret stores, and he appeared in
commercials for their underwear.
What do you think? Is Bob Dylan wrong for turning his back on his
old ideals to get chummy with Starbucks? Or is he doing the right
thing? After all, he’s old enough to make up his own mind as to who
sells his old songs. Leave your comments below.
[story by Stuart Heritage]