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Billboard reports that Starbucks will stop stocking and selling music CDs by the end of March, and will shortly commence a clean-out sale of all its titles.

According to the story, "The decision follows a tough environment for the format, which saw a sales decline of 15 percent in 2014. Music has been one of the few items offered at Starbucks stores that didn't have to do with coffee, tea or food, the chain's main revenue streams, and was often at the center of various programs and cultural initiatives."

A spokesman for the company says that "Starbucks continually seeks to redefine the experience in our retail stores to meet the evolving needs of our customers. Music will remain a key component of our coffeehouse and retail experience, however we will continue to evolve the format of our music offerings to ensure we're offering relevant options for our customers. As a leader in music curation, we will continue to strive to select unique and compelling artists from a broad range of genres we think will resonate with our customers."
KC's View:
There's no question that music has long been connected to the Starbucks experience - enough so that the company bought Hear Music, a boutique chain of CD stores, back in the late nineties. While that investment did not bear long-term fruit, Starbucks has remained an active player in the music scene, establishing partnerships with the likes of Paul McCartney and using it to create - no pun intended - a targeted vibe for the brand.

If you like our coffee, you'll love our music, the company seemed to be saying ... and it long has been selling physical CDs at full price in a market where discounts and music streaming seemed more the norm.

In other words, it was out of step in a way that it ordinarily is not. It'll be interesting to see if it can catch the beat again.