Starbucks Corp., a growing force in the music scene, said yesterday (May 5) that it chose to keep Bruce Springsteen’s new chart-topping album, “Devils & Dust,” off the menu at its coffee shops, partly because of concerns about its explicit lyrics.
The album is the first CD ever by Springsteen to get an advisory label because of the steamy lyrics on the track “Reno,” which includes a description of anal sex and an encounter with a prostitute.
Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment for the Seattle-based operator of 4,400 North American coffee houses, stressed the decision was mostly due to other considerations, including plans to stock other upcoming CDs, but said content was a concern.
“There were a number of factors involved. It [the lyrics] was one of the factors, but not the only reason,” Lombard said. He said Starbucks’ two Hear Music stores in Santa Monica and Berkeley, California were selling “Devils & Dust,” even though the CD would not be stocked in coffee shops.
Newsweek this week reported Starbucks retreated from a deal with Springsteen’s label, Sony BMG’s Columbia Records, to distribute the CD in thousands of its stores.
“While we agreed the lyrics to ‘Reno’ did warrant an advisory, our decision to choose another title to showcase was ultimately an issue of scheduling,” said Lombard, noting the Springsteen release conflicted with Starbucks’ plan to showcase a CD this month by female rockers Antigone Rising.
Lombard said Sony brought the album’s advisory sticker to the attention of Starbucks. “We have great respect for Bruce Springsteen and for Sony. We’re confident that we’ll all have the opportunity to work together in the future,” Lombard said.
A spokesperson for Sony BMG said the company was pleased Starbucks was carrying the album in its two California specialty stores.
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