Yesterday's New York Times story about Starbucks losing credibility among music fans has attracted a lot of commentary. The gist of the story: Starbucks went too mainstream by stocking artists like Alicia Keys and James Blunt, so its customers figure they might as well shop at Wal-Mart, which stocks the same CDs at lower prices. The record industry, which once looked to Starbucks as a potential savior, is having second thoughts.
Why is anybody surprised? Look at their history in the coffee business. Espresso used to be a niche product that was hard to produce properly and varied widely … Read more