Music Marketing

Starbucks Dumping Most Music

Starbucks who recently turned its record label over to partner Concord, is about to scale back its music ambitions further. According to Silicon Alley Insider, by September the chain will cut virtually all of its music retail offerings. Gone will be racks of CD’s, gift cards and promotional giveaways for iTunes. Only four retail CD slots…

per store will remain, but Starbucks will continue to offer free Wi-fi access to iTunes and and may sell online.


This is sad news since Starbucks accounted for a huge percentage of
sales on some adult titles from Ray Charles to Paul McCartney. If,
however, a digital presence is maintained perhaps the damage to sales
can be lessened as we near the digital sales tipping point.

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  1. We all knew this was going to eventually be the case. With the new Starbucks offering on the iPhone, it is no longer in there interests to stock CDs. It has not been clarified what Starbucks make from Apple with regards to an affiliate from iTunes sales within one of their stores, but it must be significant.

  2. i always wondered why starbucks got into this business to begin with.. everytime i walk into a starbucks i see the music racks full of cds and no one buying them. i must admit, i did by a cd once.. it was a pretty cool promotion a few years back, in theory at least. basically, starbucks got some big musicians (like bob dylan) to put together a cd’s worth of songs from their favorite artists..

  3. Starbucks needs to wake up and realize that the answer lies in “digital” not physical. They were the pioneers of making consumers feel like every Starbucks location was “their” place. BUT, they missed the boat from an in-store entertainment experience by not offering consumers interactivity with the music…by not offering unique ways to market and promote the music other than traditional racks and POP . They fell into the old school thought of trying too hard to “A&R” the music instead of creating a “framework” allowing their customers to choose/interact with the music…like they do with coffee and lattes. Starbucks Chief, Howard Schultz, proclaimed “…we are committed to examining all aspects of our business that are not directly related to our core.” Although physical music sales may not be directly related to Starbucks’ “core”, the in-store experience certainly IS and music is a driving factor.

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