Starbucks today announced a relationship with the William Morris Agency in which WMA will identify music, film, and book projects for Starbucks to consider for marketing and distribution in its stores.

The relationship signals the significant interest in Starbucks as a partner to labels and studios and provides Starbucks the opportunity to add value to its entertainment strategy and gain access to significantly more content for consideration.

With its national footprint of stores, strong passion and trust from its huge and diverse customer base, and proven track record with word-of-mouth marketing, Starbucks has already demonstrated success in reconnecting its millions of customers with new and unique music options, from the GRAMMY Award winning Ray Charles, to Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock and new artist Sonya Kitchell who charted with her first ever album co-released and marketed by Starbucks. More recently, Starbucks provided its customers with a unique opportunity to discover Akeelah and the Bee, an inspirational new film which opened April 28, co-presented by Lionsgate, 2929 Entertainment and Starbucks Entertainment.

“While we are a coffee company at heart, Starbucks provides much more than the best cup of coffee — we offer a community gathering place where people come together to connect and discover new things,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman. “Our customers have given us permission to be part of their entertainment discovery through the trust they have of the brand and our editorial voice introducing them to new music and movies. We believe Starbucks is a very powerful distribution channel, which is why we are so pleased to be working with the largest diversified talent and literacy agency in the world, William Morris Agency, to bring our customers even more forms of entertainment.”

“Since Starbucks shook up the music industry when it launched its focused music strategy in 2004 we recognized the important role that they would have on entertainment marketing and distribution going forward,” said William Morris CEO, Jim Wiatt. “They are a company that has gained the trust and respect of the millions of customers who walk through their doors each week; and they are a company dedicated to innovation and altruism. As they extend their reach into broader forms of entertainment, we couldn’t be more pleased and honored to be working with Starbucks.”

“We are extremely pleased about the response that the industry has had in regards to our entertainment strategy. We look forward to working very closely with the William Morris Agency, identifying and bringing forward projects to introduce to our customers that truly reflect our brand values and meet the high quality standard they have come to expect from us,” said Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment. “We are extremely excited about the value that William Morris is providing to our strategy and more importantly bringing quality entertainment choices to our customers.”

Added WMA President, Dave Wirtschafter: “We are incredibly proud to partner with one of the most respected brands in the world. And while Starbucks has already gained a strong foothold in the world of entertainment, we feel that with their existing market awareness and our ability to maximize their position, we can enhance an already formidable brand.”

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