Music Business and SBUX

22 Jun

Howard SchultzMy pal Tom Kamm – one of the brightest foreign correspondents of our generation and now a PR exec in France – has always been ahead of the game in music. He turned me on to Corinne Bailey Rae, a great new singer with a fantastic new album.

Tom lives in Paris where the album has been available for months. Here in the US, it has only just come out. And therein lies the tale:

I bought the CD yesterday at the Starbucks downstairs in the ELNK HQ building in Atlanta. There it was, at the checkout, as I paid for my coffee.

This got me to thinking how fast the music business is changing. Corinne Bailey Rae's new album has been on my Amazon wishlist for months — (AMZN still hasn't pinged me that it is out in North America by the way — that seems to be an oversight on their part). And the first place in the country to have it is Starbucks (SBUX).

I suspect the reason is that Starbucks and its HearMusic unit have some sort of exclusive window. It made my think — it has been months since I have physically walked into a record store. But I am buying as much music as ever – through the online channel and…SBUX. The last four CDs I have acquired were all bought at checkout with a coffee.

I've long admired Howard Schultz and have enjoyed every interaction I've ever had with him. I think with music, he has another big hit on his hands….


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