So I'm hearing Paul McCartney will be Howard Shultz's first artist on the new Starbucks label. Mazel tov, baby! We wish them both well. But at the same time, we can't help but feel that if it ain't br

So I'm hearing Paul McCartney will be Howard Shultz's first artist on the new Starbucks label.

Mazel tov, baby! We wish them both well. But at the same time, we can't help but feel that if it ain't broke . . . I mean, Shultz has been doing everything right, right?

He's the only franchiser who was wise enough, although it seems rather obvious, to keep control of his franchises, at least most of them. He's the only one who can push a button and everyone jumps, which is how you get things done.

"Let's see, this coffee thing is doing pretty good. I think I'll start selling records," he says. Before you know it, thousands of stores are selling records and Starbucks is a major record retailer overnight.

It doesn't hurt that Shultz obviously knows what his clientele likes to listen to. His taste, while decidedly not rock'n'roll, is what his well-off, older demographic is buying.

And there's the rub. Licensing stuff is one thing. You order it, you hear it, you know it, you choose it. Having your own label is something else again, as we've all found out the hard way. Shultz is about to be shocked at how little control he will have compared with his very successful licensing operation. But if anyone can pull it off, it's probably him.

Meanwhile, a new Miles Davis biopic will star and be directed by Don Cheadle and a new Joe Strummer doc coming from Julien Temple is called "The Future Is Unwritten"—which is what is painted on the wall of Jesse Malin's club Niagara on Avenue A and Seventh Street in New York's East Village, next to a memorial to Strummer himself.

See you on the radio.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print