"Hello, Amazon customers, Paul McCartney here," begins the legendary rock singer.
He then starts strumming a mandolin and singing the first few bars of his next single. The video clip feels awkward at first. Is that a hotel room? Did he botch a chord? When did Sir Paul start channeling Christopher Walken? Is the ex-Beatle really here, promoting his new record on Amazon.com
It then feels all too real by the time he advises viewers to "click the button. Buy the record. Buy. Buy millions of them."
The promotional clip, which eventually bleeds into the actual "Dance Tonight" video, is actually pretty effective. Taking advantage of Amazon's ability to let content creators script written introductions, McCartney also provides an overview of how his new CD -- Memory Almost Full -- came to be.
The CD hits stores today, but the promotional push isn't just for McCartney. On a grander scale, the gesture is a tribute to two outstanding Seattle-based companies in Amazon and Starbucks
A Day in the latte
The big news back in March was that it would be Starbucks, and not McCartney's longtime label EMI (Nadsaq: EMIPY), putting out his new studio album. It seems heretical at first. What's next? Twisted Sister going on a reunion tour through Chuck E. Cheese restaurants all over the country?
However, this isn't just about the elderly McCartney's appeal with a hip Frappuccino-swigging audience. Starbucks takes its music seriously. Its Hear Music station has been on XM Satellite Radio
This isn't even the first CD Starbucks has released. The big difference is McCartney himself. The reviews are good, and his split with Heather Mills is nudging the 65-year-old rocker back into the entertainment world's headlines. Mills' celebrated stint on the recently concluded Dancing With the Stars can only help, especially given the "Dance Tonight" title of the CD's first single. Did I mention that Natalie Portman stars in McCartney's new video, along with Mackenzie Crook -- whom fans of the original British version of The Office will rightfully recognize as the lanky Gareth?
Nonetheless, Starbucks isn't going to give up coffee beans for the fickle ways of the prerecorded-music industry. But still, if a senior citizen ever had a chance at going platinum in 2007, this may be as good as it gets.
Bang a gong, Amazon
The prospect of being sold in more than 9,800 domestic Starbucks locations must have the McCartney camp bubbling like a hot espresso. The personalized push on Amazon is paying off nicely, too. As of last night, McCartney's CD and deluxe limited-edition CD ranked 10th and fifth, respectively, on the site's music best-seller list.
The Internet has tried to be a launch pad for music distribution, but some of the biggest players haven't made much of a dent. News Corp.'s
I realize that McCartney's likely success will be attributed to Starbucks and not necessarily Amazon -- but that wouldn't be fair. The two companies appear to be working together to make something big happen.
There's no doubt that in the city of Seattle, where the Space Needle already looms tall, two local companies are standing even taller today.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as Amazon.com has been in business, but he rarely has all of the answers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.