Starbucks long ago started experimenting with becoming more of a lifestyle company than just a coffee shop. In fact, in the past, we've noted the company's success in selling albums from Ray Charles and Bob Dylan -- as well as promoting films. The company's forays into the entertainment world haven't been all great, however, as attempts at creating CD burning kiosks and in-store download kiosks haven't been nearly as successful. The latest plan, though, is that Starbucks wants to create its own record label, recording musicians and then selling the CDs not just in Starbucks, but at other retailers as well. It's an interesting strategy, but given how much the recording industry has struggled lately to embrace new business models, it's not going to make sense if Starbucks sets itself up as "yet another" record label. If it's really focused on using the music as part of a bundle of goods (such as selling coffee...) it actually could make quite a bit of sense. It really could be part of the recognition of what new business models digital content allows, where the music is financed because it helps sell something else. Hopefully Starbucks' execs recognize this.
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