In my last entry on Starbucks I suggested that it provides, in addition to coffee, on-demand place. People use it for meetings, network rendezvous, downtime, ... I also suggested that we would see Starbucks selling music by the track.
And, hey, where did I end up while briefly in San Antonio the other day? In a new HearMusic store, brought to us by Starbucks.
Music is a vital companion to your experience at Starbucks. We program music that you want to hear as you sip your espresso. A choice selection of great CDs are available for purchase and, in a growing number of Starbucks, media bars afford an opportunity to explore and burn selections from a vast library of songs. [In Our Stores]Tracks could be burned to CD but not apparently downloaded to an MP3 player or other memory drive. I presume there are reasons for this.
Whatever one thinks of Starbucks, I think this is an interesting development. Liquid media indeed ;-)
It made the notion of liquidity very real: people come in, swipe their Starbucks card, and make off with a CD of just the songs they want.
Recently, I have been making a detour once a week on my way home from work to pick up a copy of the (UK) Observer newspaper from a bookstore which makes a print-on-demand newspaper service available. They carry many papers from around the world. It is better than the erratic delivery schedule for a print version at my local Border's.
It is interesting to see how the network intersects with the physical in this way.