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Starbucks Learns Bitter Lesson About Music. (Coffee Also Still Bitter)

Sonic Youth Powerless to Blend Over-Priced Coffee with Lame CD Compilations for the Masses

Yet another supposed savior of the recorded music business has spectacularly failed, not that it was ever a very good bet to begin with. Starbucks, which had ramped up their Hear Music imprint to sell CDs, sign big name artists, and even even let customers custom-burn CDs in stores - along with their custom-burned coffee beans (man, that joke never gets old), will ditch music sales by September, according to CNet.

The idea was that there was a mythical "disenfranchised consumer" who didn't know where to buy CDs anymore, Tom Corson of RCA told the New York Times in March.

Well, to be sure you'd be hard pressed in most towns with a Starbucks to find a place that sold a decent selection of CDs, but it turned out that the people inside Starbucks really just wanted a foamy, whip-cream topped, caramel-infused coffee milkshake. A new Alanis Morissette CD or yet another lame compilation of "Blues Rock", eh, not so much. I guess there just aren't enough surviving Beatles for Starbucks in-house label, Hear Music, to sign to keep it afloat.

Though the official announcement came today, I've been noticing the CD kiosks getting less and less populated for at least six months now, much like the slow death that the music section of Borders stores has been going through as well.

Silicon Alley Insider reports that Hear Music label, which started releasing its own CDs last year, notably by Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, will get handed over to Concord Music Group. That means the frightful light jazz label that has sported releases from Michael Bolton and just signed Kenny G will now inherit the new Starbucks CD compilation from Sonic Youth. Nice! But more on that odd record tomorrow.


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