MacKinnon was the founder and CEO of Hear Music, an innovative music retailer featuring the first CD-based listening stations. The 23 Hear Music stores across the US and Canada focused on supporting emerging artists and driving music discovery.
In 1999, MacKinnon sold Hear Music to Starbucks and, as Vice President, Music & Entertainment for Starbucks, developed the company’s strategic music platform, featuring over 200 CD compilations, joint-venture recordings (including the triple-platinum, Grammy award-winning Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company), the development of the Hear Music Coffeehouse concept, an XM partnership including the programming of a Hear Music XM station, in-store CD burning stations and the in-store WiFi networks. MacKinnon secured innovative joint-venture relationships with labels and artists, releasing recordings including Rolling Stones Rarities 1971-2003, Herbie Hancock Possibilities (featuring Sting, Christina Aguillera and John Mayer) and Bob Dylan’s first recordings, Live at the Gaslight.
In fall 2006, MacKinnon joined Product (RED), the organization that Bono and Bobby Shriver created to help fight AIDS in Africa. To date, through its partnerships with companies like Apple, Nike, Starbucks and Dell, (RED) has contributed over $215 million to that fight. In addition to his work on strategy and business development for (RED), MacKinnon oversaw (RED)’s entertainment platforms through which artists turned their music and concerts (RED), driving money to the Global Fund and bringing their fans into the (RED) community - including U2, Coldplay, Jay-Z, the Black Keys, Lady Gaga, The Killers, Elvis Costello, Katy Perry, Usher, Santigold and dozens more.
The ACLU awarded MacKinnon its Bill of Rights Award for his “commitment to promoting artistic freedom and support of projects that promote social justice.”
MacKinnon has always worked at the intersection of business, content and technology – working to improve the way artists and fans make connections. MacKinnon is now developing a new venture which will deliver social curation around the world of music.
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