After 20 years Starbucks is getting out of the compact disc market. CDs at Starbucks were like at the impulse buy section at the checkout area of the supermarket but instead of a pack of gum, some Skittles and a magazine with a Kardashian on the cover, you bought the latest album from Taylor Swift, Norah Jones or that band that you loved 30 years ago and didn’t even know they were still putting out records.
When Starbucks got into the CD selling market in 1995 the industry was already dealing with two years of down sales. Since then, they have been a valuable purveyor in keeping the CD market vital. There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal from April 23, 2003 in which Starbucks CEO Harold Schultz declared “We have become an editor of music.”
The main reason Schultz says this was because of the tremendous success of their compilation CDs. The chain’s first CD, “Blue Note Blend,” a compilation featuring Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, sold 40,000 copies in its first six weeks. Since then they have released numerous compilation CDs. They were always well curated and made for interesting choices and opportunities for new music discovery.
So as an homage to Starbucks and Hear Music (the label that distributes Starbucks music), I present a few of my favorite compilations.
Ray Charles “Genius Loves Company”
40th Anniversary Collection