Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Business Idea 2: Red Delicious

I mentioned the Flat Breads eaterie a couple posts back. Another business idea from a couple years ago was for a Bricks and Mortar digital music store. I took this one pretty seriously. In my notes, I apparently talked with the llama about it, while he was in Singapore maybe? I researched the market (even went to measure activity at a local Sam Goody's counting passers-by and customers), examined competition, read research reports.... Then I think I finally got into grad school and dropped it all. I started notes on a business plan, however, which I have pasted below. This was in the era when iTunes was new. I was a subscriber to the online PressPlay, which soon became the legal Napster. Red Delicious was my pet name for the project, and somehow I remember convincing myself it wasn't a blatant Apple rip-off. I don't know how, since it clearly is. Anyway, the central insight behind the store is I think still legit. The defining characteristic of a bricks and mortar music store is the stacks of CDs. That both defines the decor and atmosphere of the store, as well as probably becomes one of the major costs. With digital music, you can eliminate most of the costs of distribution and inventory management. After that, I was kind of at a loss. The plan as it existed in... 2003 or so: I added some thoughts in CAPS for the fun of it.

Music Retail Business Plan

Vision: Change the face of music retail, making it friendly, flexible, and fun.

Red Delicious will provide the highest possible value for its customers by providing a superb product at a reasonable price and delivering the highest possible customer experience. (THAT DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING DOES IT?) Red Delicious plans to set the standard for music retail internationally, transforming the experience for all.(KEEPING MY GOALS MODEST AS ALWAYS)

Red Delicious will provide a friendly environment for the sampling and purchase of digital music. The buyer will be able to relax in a comfortable chair, sip a cup of tea, eat a chocolate oatmeal cookie, listen to music by themselves or with friends, and purchase the music they like. (STARBUCKS IS SUPPOSEDLY MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF SELLING MUSIC IN THEIR STORES NOW, THE THIEVES) The music they purchase will be burned to CD in Audio or Portable (I.E., AUDIO, MP3, WAV, WMA...) format, and art work will be provided for the sleeve. The overall process will be as easy to understand as purchasing a pre-packaged CD in traditional retail, and yet will provide the flexibility that current lovers of digital music require. The retail cafe environment will bring in music lovers and the music will bring in cafe lovers. (I know what this last sentence is trying to say, but it doesn’t make any real sense. Why would music bring in a cafe lover?)


1. Drastically slash music inventory costs and management by licensing digital music providers.
2. Merge the online digital music world with bricks and mortar retail.
3. Generate revenue from auxiliary sales when customers listen to free streaming audio.
4. Create simple, very fast method of burning and purchasing CDs. It should take no more than 3 minutes to burn a CD. (I STILL LIKE THESE OBJECTIVES AND THEY ARE THE REAL MEAT OF THE PROPOSAL)

Possible sources of revenue:
• Music sales
• Music artwork sales
• Food and Drink
• Dry Goods: clothing, mugs, mouse pads, etc.
• Books, magazines
• Music equipment
• Players – CD, MP3, WMA, etc.

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