Digital music kiosks take another spin
Reading this gives me crazy ideas about completely transforming the music retail experience into more of a social experience — get rid of 80% of the CD racks, keep some premium inventory around like box sets and limited editions, put in a coffee shop (seems to work wonders for brick and mortar book retailers) and create a space for music lovers to hang out and share tunes with each other. Put in digital “jukebox" computers, let people stream whatever they want (volume might be an issue… maybe the tables have headphone stands, or hire a brilliant sound engineer to baffle everything properly so tables/stations don’t bleed too much audio), and some percentage will buy MP3 files on site (and continue to buy some physical media). Others won’t buy anything but the occasional coffee but will be 100% free and avid promoters to others. Have concerts and special events in stores constantly. Hold workshops for would-be and independent music makers.
Even better: provide a celestial jukebox service to any customer who buys anything from you, ever. Store whatever tracks and albums they buy, ever, and let them stream it from any device they own. Let them re-download anything at any time when they have a hard drive crash, clean system install, get a new computer/NAS/PMP/phone/game console/etc.