Carly Simon Sues Starbucks For Not Promoting Her Album Enough
from the hello-old-way-of-thinking... dept
Starbucks got plenty of attention a few years back for trying to start its own music label. We had hoped that maybe the company would try to do something unique and different with it, but, instead, it basically just tried to set up a conventional music label that was going to rely on selling CDs via Starbucks. Doing things the conventional way at a time when an industry is in upheaval makes little sense, and it didn’t take long for Starbucks to dump the label. However, one of the last CDs it put out was by well known singer Carly Simon — and Simon is now suing Starbucks for $5 to $10 million, using famed power lawyer David Boies.
While it does seem pretty clear that Starbucks didn’t do all that much to promote the album after deciding to get out of the music label business, it’s hard to feel particularly sympathetic to Simon. The same thing could have happened with any record label — and given how many are struggling these days, it certainly could have happened. Furthermore, nothing in the article above suggests that Simon did anything to help promote the album herself or work on any aspect of the business model. It sounds like she just sat back and expected Starbucks to do everything and just start sending her checks. On top of that, the deal still included a huge advance (while she says not all of it was paid, the official advance was $575,000 — hardly a small sum). And, again, her complaints of losing some money in the stock market, and owing money on one house in fancy Martha’s Vineyard while being unable to sell her apartment in Greenwich Village (not exactly the low rent district) doesn’t make her the most sympathetic of characters.
On top of all this she still sold 124,000 copies of the album.
Considering that only about 100 albums last year were able to sell more than 250,000 CDs, it seems like Simon should be thankful she was able to sell as many as she did — especially given the fact that she seems to think Starbucks had the total responsibility for selling the album. This whole lawsuit seems to be a very old school recording industry artist mindset — where the artist isn’t expected to get involved at all, but just expects to sit back and get handed millions of dollars. Sorry, the market doesn’t work that way any more, even if Starbucks is involved.