Starbucks Blends Coffee and Music

WSJ writes about another example of how boundaries between businesses are blurring:

As the music industry’s sales suffer from digital piracy and competition from DVDs and videogames, Starbucks has found success selling carefully selected music to its millions of loyal customers…Most of the CDs Starbucks sells hit its shops at the same time that they reach traditional music outlets.

The push into music is part of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz’s broader ambitions to make its stores the “third place” in consumers’ lives, after home and the office. As Mr. Schultz, 51 years old, sees it, music and other forms of entertainment help draw customers and, in turn, drive up sales of Starbucks’s pricey coffee and food.

Starbucks offers high-speed Internet access at some stores. Last year, the company also opened a sprawling combination coffeehouse and music store, called Hear Music Coffeehouse, in Santa Monica, Calif. Customers can shop for prepackaged CDs or burn their own on “media bars” using Starbucks’s 200,000-plus song library. The company plans to open similar stores in Miami and San Antonio, later this year.

Starbucks plans eventually to install media bars in most of its traditional coffee shops as well. Already, at 45 coffee shops in Seattle and Austin, Texas, customers can pay to burn CDs. The company also says it has heard from movie studios and television networks about someday setting up online video downloads.

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