No matter how irrelevant a format the CD became in the years after Napster, it always seemed somehow indestructible so long as Starbucks kept selling various compilations and Coldplay albums to keep the medium on the shelves when no other place would (primarily because other “places” were record stores forced to shut down).
The company’s recent decision to put the kibosh on those charming pieces of eye candy with indescribably 90s album artwork at the cash register comes from a somewhat bleak realization:
Starbucks continually seeks to redefine the experience in our retail stores to meet the evolving needs of our customers. Music will remain a key component of our coffeehouse and retail experience, however we will continue to evolve the format of our music offerings to ensure we’re offering relevant options for our customers. As a leader in music curation, we will continue to strive to select unique and compelling artists from a broad range of genres we think will resonate with our customers.”
In other words, executives finally got wise to the fact that most of their customers are not 50 years old and up. Catering to the “millennial needs” of a digital music format seems like it’s too little, too late at this point, however. Why now? After over a decade of being behind the game. Selling CDs seems like something the “coffeehouse” should embrace as part of its only esoteric charm. But alas, nothing gold can stay.