Friday, May 26, 2006

Starbucks pulls CD-burning kiosks

After a much ballyhooed trial (yikes -- I've already mentioned it three times in this blog):

Music kiosks changing the retail landscape...
Consumers give digital content kiosks the thumbs up
Red tape could kill stores' CD-burning kiosks

it looks like Starbucks is going to call it quits with its in-store CD-burning solution. As this article from Seattle-PI tells us:

Experts blame iPods, and the ability to burn CDs on home computers, for curbing the success of what Starbucks had hoped would be a hit.

"Launching the service without the ability for customers to download music directly to their MP3 players was a major misstep," said John Moore, a former marketer for the Seattle-based coffee giant who now runs Brand Autopsy, an Austin consulting firm.

In 2004, Starbucks announced with fanfare that Austin and Seattle would be test markets for its Hear Music media bars. Working with Hewlett-Packard Corp., Starbucks developed touch-screen computer kiosks that allow customers to download music from a bank of about 200,000 songs, burning them onto CDs at 99 cents a track.

Less than two years later, Starbucks has removed the equipment from most of the stores. In the remaining stores, the kiosks recently were upgraded with new software and a larger bank of more than 1 million songs. Starbucks chose the 10 stores based on the popularity of the kiosks.

Starbucks execs deny that this wasn't their plan all along, but you'd hardly expect them to say something like "yeah, this was an utter failure, we totally missed the boat" (well, they'd probably say it in executive-speak, but you get the point :)

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