Operations for Starbucks’ label, Hear Music, which released albums by Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor last year, are being turned over to Concord Music Group, which has handled back shop operations for the imprint.
Ken Lombard, who ran Hear Music as president of Starbucks Entertainment, has left the company. Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, has been promoted to senior vice president and will assume the leadership helm of the Entertainment category.
Starbucks referred to the moves as a restructuring of its entertainment business to focus on digital strategy and core content with music and books. Starbucks will look for ways to increase wi-fi related offerings and other in-store technology.
Starbucks will continue to work with the William Morris Agency to select book offerings for its stores.
Concord Music Group has a family of labels including Concord, Fantasy and Stax. Unlike other music groups, the individual labels do not have specific chiefs.
Hear Music has about four or five more releases on its slate for 2008, among them a June release from Brit roots R&B singer James Hunter.
Hear and Concord most famously partnered on Ray Charles’ final album, “Genius Loves Company,” which sold millions and won four Grammy Awards.