With P2P and other digital distribution models democratizing distribution and internet, satellite. and cell phone broadcasting opening up unlimited channels for music discovery, the importance of gatekeepers (people or brands we trust) in rec commending new music is growing daily.
The emergence of Starbucks and it's HEAR music initiatives as one of these gatekeepers has been hailed industry wide particularly for it's potential in reaching lucrative adult buyers. But what happens when these gatekeepers become censors; banning whole CD's for one supposedly questionable lyric?
CelebrityAccess MediaWire writes that "Bruce Springsteen's new album, "Devils & Dust," has a bit too much of a kick for the caffeine-pushers at Starbucks."
"The album went to No. 1 over the weekend but that hasn't stopped the java joint from nixing a deal to sell the CD in its chain stores. Newsweek reported yesterday on its Web site that it's all because one song on the album glorifies - gasp! - sodomy."
"The song earned the album, released last week on Columbia Records, a Sony Music label, a parental warning label. It is the first album in Springsteen's catalogue to carry such a warning." (Hypebot: Come on Sony. Are you going to go back an sanitize or sticker all of your 60's releases that celebrated free love and drugs too?)
"Starbucks declined to comment on the flap, the mag said. The episode appears to be the first time Starbucks has declined to stock an album by a major act because of concern over lyrics, notwithstanding the warning sticker. The java juggernaut, with almost 6,400 outlets in the U.S., has become an influential link in music distribution in just a few short years, especially in 2004."