Starbucks Can't Make Out Music Strategy Over The Noise From Milk Steamers

from the decaf-americano-with-extra-bob-dylan-please dept

Ever since Starbucks figured out that they were selling a fair number of CDs in its stores, the company has been working its "music strategy", with little success. It attracted a lot of attention when it began rolling out CD-burning kiosks to some of its stores, but as we suspected, they've been yanked from all but a few stores. Still, Starbucks isn't giving up on digital music, with a couple of ideas being mentioned: an in-store download service that works over existing WiFi hotspots, or "digital fill-up stations" where users can load MP3 players. One of the nice things about digital content is that it doesn't have to be distributed in a particular physical location, so the idea of having to go to a certain place to download songs, rather than doing it from home or some other convenient location, is a bizarre one. It's already failed once, in essence, with the CD-burning kiosks; it seems even less likely to succeed as a comptuter- or MP3 player-based service. Also, if a user's going to bother to bring their computer in to a Starbucks to download some music over WiFi, why wouldn't they just use iTunes, or whatever other download store they already use, and can access from outside the store?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TriZz, May 24th, 2006 @ 11:33am

    because...

    ...starbucks usually carries some obscure music that might not be found on iTunes (or other mainstream digital music services).

    Plus, if Starbucks is selling music cheaper within their hotspots - that might make it worth it. Use the saved pennies per song to pay for your frappachino.

    "Buy this album and enjoy a mocha latte on us while your download finishes."

    You could take this several places...

     

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  2.  
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    Air, May 24th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Lame

    I go to Starbucks for a cup of java not the tunes. Starbucks should take a quick poll to see how long a customer spends in their store. I am sure they would find that most customers do not "hang out" with the grind and listen to their tunes, but simply purchase their java and leave. The drive through Starbuck's should be more of a concern.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    DL, May 24th, 2006 @ 12:29pm

    Starbucks is trendy...

    ... so that is why it is so much better to download your music there.

    What Starbucks should do have some group say that downloading there is bad and is a threat to children everywhere. Then thanks to the Streisand Effect 'The Buck' will make billions and rule the world.

    ... wait too late...

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    kid mercury, May 24th, 2006 @ 12:43pm

    i think it could work

    i think it could work, especially in certain geographic regions. in new york, if you're on the road and your battery runs out, it could be convenient to go to a local starbucks -- which, in new york, is probably a block away -- and charge up. that same audience is not going to be interested in the hassle of cd burning but may find the convenience of buying music straight from a digital music kiosk on to your mp3 player to be worthwhile as well.

    i think the key thing being sold here, or where value is really being added, is thorugh convenience.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Jay, May 24th, 2006 @ 12:54pm

    Outlets

    Forget the downloading. You usually need to fight for one of the few AC outlets to plug-in your laptop. They should have outlets built-into the counter-tops. I think it is BS that they charge $9.95 for WiFi. Why can't you get a half-hour free with purchase?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Jay, May 24th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Outlets

    Forget the downloading. You usually need to fight for one of the few AC outlets to plug-in your laptop. They should have outlets built-into the counter-tops. I think it is BS that they charge $9.95 for WiFi. Why can't you get a half-hour free with purchase?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    dorpus, May 24th, 2006 @ 1:11pm

    SKRRRRRRRRWWWWOOOOOOOOOO

    But surely, don't we want recorded sounds of milk steamers? And don't forget the ice blender soundtrack, the espresso steamers being whacked against the wood, cell phones chirping, and the car alarms going off outside the store.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Todd Henkel, May 24th, 2006 @ 2:13pm

    Over Reaching

    Retailers of *ALL* types get over-exuberant when something different from the main line of business sells. It breaks the monotony of the job from marketing up to the executives. "Think out-of-the-box... Think big!"

    And in this case, it made news and early adopters loved the idea justifying the business plan.

    But reality always challenges the best plan.

    One year a retailer I worked for sold out early in the Christmas season of R/C cars. Everyone in HQ was estatic. The next year, we had R/C cars everywhere at all price points. SO many were drop shipped there was not enough room in the store for them - we literally tripped over them on the sales floor. And the inventory lasted until the following Christmas...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Tony, May 24th, 2006 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Outlets

    Charge? There's a charge? I have posted on here from a Starbuck's and ever paid a cent. Oops someone left their wi-fi open I guess!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    anonymous coward, May 24th, 2006 @ 4:51pm

    people that hang out in starbucks are like pidgeons. filthy, disease carrying, and to be avoided. coffee drinking rodents.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2006 @ 6:25pm

    Re: because...

    yah, cuz you can barely find that new Pearl Jam album anywhere! and now, thanks to Starbucks, I've learned who Antigone Rising is (since there are so many un-sold copies of their album in the rack)

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2006 @ 7:54pm

    The RIAA is going to let Starbucks sell their music in the no-DRM MP3 format? I'll believe it when I see it.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2006 @ 5:06am

    I think the sell that would work is that you like whatever you're listening to enough to buy on the spot - I have a feeling that impulse purchases are going to be popular among the Starbucks crowd. If it's easy, through the wifi, I think people would do it. Especially if it were music that wasn't totally mainstream, so that people won't have already heard it 1000x.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Mick, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 10:52am

    Starbucks & music

    I burned a CD from one of Starbucks instore thingys a couple years ago - it won't play on most of my players - a real rip.

    When I go to Starbucks, and rifle through their little CD rack while waiting forever to just get a cup of coffee, I see all kinds of old Motown and soul compilations for $13-15 that can be bought at any Wal-Mart for $5.88 these days. Old Dylan albums, Stones crap - that stuff is everywhere for cheaper than what they try to sell it for. Don't fall into that 'impulse' buying, unless you're someone who actually likes over-paying for stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Mick, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 10:52am

    Starbucks & music

    I burned a CD from one of Starbucks instore thingys a couple years ago - it won't play on most of my players - a real rip.

    When I go to Starbucks, and rifle through their little CD rack while waiting forever to just get a cup of coffee, I see all kinds of old Motown and soul compilations for $13-15 that can be bought at any Wal-Mart for $5.88 these days. Old Dylan albums, Stones crap - that stuff is everywhere for cheaper than what they try to sell it for. Don't fall into that 'impulse' buying, unless you're someone who actually likes over-paying for stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Paul Sanderson, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 7:31pm

    download- CD - Wifi

    downloading to MP3 player does not fit the retail/ bricks and mortar model as well as just selling CD's. I think they will do better by focusing on presentation of select "starbucks" artists. As the initial commentator suggests- why download at a Starbucks when you can do it at home?

    Wifi should be free as well

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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