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Starbucks, long the champion of the “third place” philosophy of retailing, now may find itself in a fourth place – court.

Singer Carly Simon, represented by the famed litigation lawyer David Boies, is suing the coffee company for unspecified damages related to the failure of her last CD, “This Kind Of Love,” in 2008. The album was produced by Starbucks’ Hear Music division, which had turned albums by artists such as Ray Charles into hits. However, shortly after Simon signed her deal with Hear Music, the company reduced its involvement in the music business as it dealt with the erosion of its core business because of economic challenges created by the recession; Simon’s suit charges that not only did the company not pay her an agreed-upon advance, but Starbucks didn’t even initially stock the CD at all of its stores and when it finally did, it was at a discount price that Simon says stigmatized the album

Starbucks replies that it met all of its contractual obligations and that the album didn’t sell because consumers didn’t like it.

According to a New York Times article about the lawsuit, Simon apparently hoped that “The Kind Of Love” would be her last album. But now, like a lot of baby boomers, she finds herself unable to retire because of financial pressures and now has to produce another album that will be out later this month.
KC's View:
Y’know what I don’t understand about this story? (i’m not taking a position on the legal question, because I have no idea who is right or wrong.)

What I don’t get is why Carly Simon is retiring at age 64.

If I had that kind of talent - if I could sing and play an instrument and write songs and touch people’s hearts - I’d never quit. Even if I couldn’t have best-selling albums anymore, I’d keep playing, keep doing concerts (even in saloons if I had to), keep making music wherever and however I could...because that ability is a gift and a privilege and a kind of magic.

I love what Bob Dylan is doing - playing country fairs and small venues that one might think are below his legendary talent, but that he obviously finds rewarding in some way. I suspect they’ll have to drag Dylan off the stage kicking and screaming, and I respect that.