Paul McCartney Leaving Capitol Records After 40 Years
Exclusive: Paul McCartney is splitting with the record company he’s called home for most of the last 43 years.
Except for a brief break in the early 1980s when he skipped to Columbia Records and then back, McCartney has been with Capitol since the Beatles’ first album in 1964.
But he’s leaving, effective immediately, and taking his entire back catalog of solo albums with him. That’s everything including bestsellers like "Band on the Run," "McCartney," "Ram," "Flowers in the Dirt," "Tug of War" and his critically acclaimed most recent album, "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard," nominated for four Grammys, including Album of the Year, in 2006.
That much is news. This much has also been reported: McCartney will be the first artist signed with Starbucks’ new record label. News of the label and McCartney’s potential involvement were first suggested in Sunday’s New York Post.
But I can tell you exclusively: It’s a done deal. It will be announced this week. McCartney will first offer just his new album to Starbucks for a fall release. The rest of the catalog he will sit on for the moment.
Capitol, I can also tell you, is not happy. They are part of the ailing EMI Records empire. EMI, like Warner Music, is suffering and could collapse at any time. This news is a terrible blow to them.
"They knew it was coming," a source says. "They did nothing for the 'Chaos' album, and they were reminded that McCartney’s entire contract was ending. Look, they did nothing for the Beatles’ 'Love' album this winter. It just sold on its own. Everything they do is outdated."
McCartney’s exit from Capitol is interesting in many ways. Every since the Beatles joined Capitol, all their albums and all their solo albums have come from the label.
Capitol’s association with the group since they broke up in 1970 has always been key. McCartney’s Wings albums were with the label, as was John Lennon’s "Imagine," George Harrison’s "All Things Must Pass" and Ringo Starr’s "Ringo!" Even Sean Lennon has released a Capitol album.
But all that may change now that McCartney has flown the coop. Starbucks has proven to be a much more effective seller of CDs and DVDs than record stores, thanks to their amazing retailing and branding.
Starbucks customers have come to regard non-coffee product merchandise as hip and attractive, while record companies have been unable to reach customers at all in recent years.