I have kinda mixed feelings about this one: I get an advert in last weekend’s paper for Coconuts Music & Movies; (their website wasn’t even up as of Saturday). I was never a fan of their chain, whose prices tended towards MSRP.
Now here’s where it gets interesting:
A terrific CD I’ve been intending to buy — English jazz-pop singer-pianist Jamie Cullum: Twentysomething — was on sale for $6.99 + free shipping. In additon, there were a buncha of discs prices at $4.99, $5.99, $6.99 and $7.99.
On the one hand, this was pretty cheap — anything introducing genuine price competition into the industry is good. Indeed, I frequently argue that this is what CDs should cost at list price — now as loss leaders.
One the other hand, I do not se how they can compete with either Amazon (before we even think about iTunes). The site is somewhat thin. There is little in the way of content; I had to find the “Twentysomething” CD by searching directly for it — it didn’t come up under the artists name.
While Coconuts offers nowhere near the level of content, services and info that Amazon does, its worth watching. If these prices are typical, they can definitely build up an substantial niche of price sensitive sales.
Whether that’s a viable business model or not is an entirely different question. But price competition is good, and it will be interesting to see how the marketplace responds.