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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 11:02 GMT
Starbucks launches record label
Starbucks sign
Starbucks has extended its brand to music, books and films
Coffee house Starbucks is to launch its own music label, saying it will sign both established and new artists.

The chain, which has 13,000 stores worldwide, has already released albums under its Hear Music brand, licensing songs from other companies.

Starbucks bosses said the label would now become more independent and that music fitted with the firm's identity.

No artists have yet been confirmed but it is expected to be officially launched in the next few weeks.

'Powerful platform'

Hear Music's biggest success so far has been the Grammy-winning Genius Loves Company, an album of Ray Charles duets.

Starbucks has also opened four hybrid Hear Music Coffeehouses where customers can purchase music and burn it to CDs, and it has a branded page at Apple's online iTunes store.

Glen Barros, president of Concord Music Group which will partner Hear Music, said recording artists should be attracted by the idea of a built-in audience in Starbucks, particularly at a time when digital downloading has created "a stressful time for the music industry".

"This is a pretty powerful new platform, when you can reach 44 million customers per week through Starbucks stores."

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