Starbucks was once a media darling, adored for its brew of business brilliance and customer connectedness.
Now, amidst over-expansion and total marketplace saturation, that sentiment is starting to sour.
On Monday, New York Times writer Jeff Leeds berated the music initiatives of Starbucks, and criticized the coffee giant for a stale collection of mainstream titles. Noting that “the ardor for Starbucks has gone the way of yesterday morning’s grounds,” Leeds pointed to a shift from edgy, more obscure artists to superstars like Alicia Keys and James Blunt.
On the business end, the article pointed to a “sliding reputation in the music business,” and “alienated business partners” complaining of unfair margins and terms. A large percentage of staffers within the entertainment group have also reportedly departed, including Hear Music founder Don McKinnon in 2006.
Whether customers are feeling alienated is a difficult question, especially considering the massive demographic. Leeds claimed that Starbucks sells merely two CDs per store per day, a figure that the coffee chain contested.