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Leonard Cohen's Starbucks Greatest Hits 'Opus Collection' Reflects Sales Influence of Coffee Empire

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Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of. This week we look at Leonard Cohen's new album 'Opus Collection,' the newest edition of Starbucks' exclusive greatest hits collections.

Week of 01/30/2015
WHO: Leonard Cohen
WHAT: Opus Collection
SPOT: 177

Leonard Cohen fans may have been surprised to find out that the stirring vocalist had a new set that debuted on the Billboard 200 this week. That's because Opus Collection is a Starbucks exclusive series that packages the greatest hits from supposedly coffee-house friendly performers and then sells them at the chain's locations. The good news: Folks are apparently still willing to buy physical format albums. The bad news: Don't expect any unreleased music on this set.

Opus Collection serves as a fairly standard "greatest hits" collection, featuring "Hallelujah" and other Cohen standards you might expect, as well as a live version of "Dance Me To The End of Live" (a version previously released on other compilations from the performer). Its 20 tracks are a great starting point for anyone who just happens to take interest while ordering their morning coffee. Plus, Cohen makes much more sense in a Starbucks setting than say, The Beegees, who have also gotten the Opus Collection treatment in the past.

If anything, the fact that Starbucks can land an album in the Billboard 200 with absolutely no advertising and no new content is encouraging. We miss the days when the weekly download cards were bands we'd never heard of (no offense to The Decemberists...great band...but how much help do they need from Starbucks?). It'd be nice to see more obscure performers getting pushed by the coffee chain alongside icons such as Cohen.

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