It’s no secret that CD sales ain’t what they used to be
I wish I started my band in 2001, back when people used to value the satisfaction of owning a hard copy of a record. But I would have been nine, and we probably would have sucked. Nowadays, it’s tough for any artist to sell a decent amount of albums. Platinum albums used to drop every other Tuesday, but now they’re few and far between.
As an artist, I know firsthand the ills of the modern music marketplace. However, I always had sort of a “grass is greener” view of the big shots like Starbucks. Apparently, they’re feeling the pain as well; in-store CD sales dropped by 15 percent last year. And 15 percent of a jillion albums is a fat chunk of cash. Starting at the end of next month, they’re pulling the plug on the whole operation, removing CDs from their shelves entirely.
Things were different back in the day
You’re probably already tired of me saying stuff like, “back in my day,” but things were different when Starbucks originally kick started their music venture in 1999. They flourished almost immediately, experiencing five consecutive years of substantial growth. Music piracy was barely a thing at the turn of the century, if at all. If folks wanted to hear whole albums, they had to get off their lazy butts and go pick them up from a record store.
Since the marriage of Starbucks and music, they’ve partnered with companies like Hear Music and Concord Music. This paraded artists like Paul McCartney, Alanis Morissette, and Taylor Swift across the world (as if they weren’t getting sufficient publicity already). In 2006, Billboard reported that the coffee shop was banking around $65 million in music revenue… annually. That’s one dollar for every year since the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Cross your fingers for the starving artists
I’ll be honest, folks. It kind of scares me that a giant like Starbucks is forfeiting the hard copy music game like this. Bands used to rely pretty heavily on album sales, but the market shift has officially permeated every corner of the industry.
If freaking Starbucks isn’t making enough cash selling the Frozen soundtrack, there’s no way that my band will be able to scrape by. I hope they wind up offering download cards or something more modern instead of bowing out of the match altogether. Cross your fingers for us starving artists – this could mean the beginning of the end.