Starbucks to Quit Music Distribution, Keep Serving Coffee

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Photo by Andrew Bulhak

Once hailed as a savior of the music industry’s physical distribution model, Starbucks will abandon the sale of CDs and iTunes gift cards in its thousands of outlets by September, according to a report released today by Silicon Valley Insider. The company will continue to offer free Wi-fi access to Apple’s online music store and may continue to try to sell entertainment online, but the dream of record company executives who saw Starbucks at the vanguard of a new class of unconventional sales outlets that could keep the CD alive in an age of digital downloads is now dead.

The company reported its first annual profit decline in eight years and saw half a dozen senior executives depart from its entertainment unit this year, forcing the Seattle-based retailer to look for ways to restart growth in its core business of selling $4 cups of coffee.

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  • phoenix

    That’s somewhat unfortunate – Starbucks always had some really good CD collections and compilations to peruse while waiting for your coffee to be prepared. I even admit to buying some of their old Motown and classic soul/r&b compilations, not to mention some of their excellent selection of jazz (folks like Monk and Coltrane lived on Starbucks shelves). Admittedly though, people go into Starbucks for coffee and a snack, and maybe even for the wi-fi, not for music.

    That being said, I would love to see Starbucks continue to play the music that people love on the in-store XM station and invite people to head to the iTunes store to download the song if they like what they hear. I’ll bet some of those wifi users will head over and download a track or two if they like what they hear.

  • Cmdr. Mark

    I buy Dunkin Donuts coffee. Way better than Starbucks and only $1.50 for a large.

  • Alex

    Dunkin Donuts Coffee better than Starbucks??? On what planet? DD coffee tastes like cat urine.

About the author

Lonnie Lazar

Lonnie Lazar is a writer-musician-web designer-attorney. He writes about Apple for Cult of Mac and Mac|Life, and about VoIP and telecommunications for Voxilla. Follow Lonnie on Twitter @LonnieLazar, join the Cult of Mac on Facebook, and find Lonnie's photos on Flickr.

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Posted in Customer Services, Music, Retail Stores |