Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks.

Daniel Altman at the International Herald Tribune, commenting on the same Wal-Mart music article I discussed last night, makes a very good point:
Clearly, only a company with a huge distribution network, like Wal-Mart’s, could get away with this strategy. Starbucks, the chain of coffee houses, is trying to do the same thing.
All sarcasm aside (which is hard for me), go visit the Starbucks music site and tell me which company is adding the most to its brand.

One Response to “Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks.”

  1. It is well-known that Walmart not only targets a certain economic demographic, but a certain cultural demographic as well. All these music deals are doing is making this a bit more explicit. Until now the cultural segregation was more based upon what Walmart didn’t sell. If you wanted the prohibited magazines of the uncut albums you could go elsewhere.

    Will fans of these exclusive artists go to Walmart just to buy a specific release, or will they just buy something else? Perhaps Walmart is in the forefront of a new type of segregation in this country. We have had stores which cater to specific ethnic or interest groups (Catholic bookshops, for example), but much of this is becoming blurred by cultural assimilation. Taco Bell sells an “American” cuisine not a Mexican one.

    The media has also become fragmented, TV channels and web sites target specific audiences, so why not Walmart? I just don’t know what to call the target Walmart audience.

    Rather than using the colorful analogies that political pundits like to invent (soccer moms, etc.) perhaps the group is self defining. Those who Walmart is appealing to are just “Walmart shoppers”. Now let the pundits analyze their political and cultural attitudes.

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