Starbucks Signs With William Morris1 May, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Starbucks Corp. appears to have been stung by the entertainment bee.
The ubiquitous coffee retailer May 1 announced it signed a deal with the legendary William Morris Agency to help identify music, film and book projects to market and distribute through its worldwide network of more than 11,000 stores.
The relationship would signal Starbucks' interest to partner with record labels and studios to gain access to higher-profile content for future marketing projects.
“While we are a coffee company at heart … we offer a community gathering place where people come together to connect and discover new things,” said Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz. “We believe Starbucks is a very powerful distribution channel, which is why we are so pleased to be working with the William Morris Agency, to bring our customers even more forms of entertainment.”
Starbucks has successfully marketed music CDs from Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Herbie Hancock, among others. It was a co-producer along with Lionsgate and Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment on Akeelah and the Bee, which generated $6 million in its April 28 theatrical debut weekend.
The DVD of Akeelah will be available at Starbucks this fall.
Seattle-based Starbucks reportedly will relocate its fledging entertainment division to Santa Monica, Calif.