Although Guy already mentioned Don MacKinnon’s ’90 role as part of the ever-expaning Starbucks empire, I couldn’t resist mentioning some more quotes:

In the mid-1990s, Starbucks began selling CDs, such as a compilation of Blue Note Records’ jazz artists. By 1999, at the onset of Starbucks’ growth spurt, executives began telling Schultz about Hear Music, a chain of five U.S. music stores based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Hear Music was run by Don MacKinnon, a young music wonk who had spent hours in his Williams College dorm room mixing tapes of his favorite songs. When it started in 1990, the company published a catalog of CD compilations of the favorite songs of artists like Rickie Lee Jones and Bonnie Raitt. That didn’t catch on, so MacKinnon and his partners opened stores to sell compilation CDs in San Francisco, Chicago and other cities.

In 1999, Schultz, curious, flew to San Francisco to visit the Hear Music store there. After walking into the store, he recalls, “My imagination was racing a mile a minute.” Later that year, Starbucks bought Hear Music for $8 million.

Starbucks named MacKinnon, now 37, vice president of its Hear Music unit. He and nine of his Hear Music colleagues moved to Starbucks’ headquarters in Seattle, where they continued developing compilation CDs and negotiating projects like the Ray Charles “Genius Loves Company” release.

MacKinnon even gets to talk to Mick Jagger. And to think that I knew him as a humble squash player back in the day . . .

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