Fermetures Starbucks

Ce n’est pas vraiment un secret, de nombreux amateurs de café de qualité considèrent la chaîne Starbucks comme un problème. Même si c’est surtout des gros producteurs industriels comme Sara Lee et Nestlé que les partisans du café de qualité tentent de contrecarrer, Starbucks joue le rôle de l’ennemi du bon goût dans le mouvement vers le café de qualité.

C’est donc avec une certaine joie (Schadenfreude, dirions-nous) que l’on peut parler de la situation de Starbucks:

Starbucks va fermer 600 cafés aux états-Unis | LaPresseAffaires.com

Ma perception est peut-être erronnée mais j’ai l’impression que Starbucks n’a jamais vraiment percé au Québec et que même Second Cup n’a pas une situation si enviable sur le marché québécois.

Par contre, mon impression est assui que la scène du café à Montréal était bien plus intéressante avant que certains cafés locaux ne se soient transformés en chaînes. À Montréal, il y a aujourd’hui beaucoup de chaînes de cafés. D’après moi, la résurgence des cafés indépendants ne date que de quelques années, après une période de «franchisation». Le problème principal d’une chaîne, c’est qu’elle ne peut acheter que de grosses productions de café. Il est donc impossible d’aller chercher les cafés les plus intéressants, qui sont généralement produits en petites quantités. Évidemment, pas de possibilité d’entretenir un rapport direct entre producteur et café local.


Music, Coffee, Digital Life

“These are a few of my favourite things…”

I keep thing that music and coffee have a lot to do with one another. I’m also a wannabe geek. So I’m quite interested in the recently-announced Apple/Starbucks partnership to distribute music via wireless connections.

Apple – iTunes – Starbucks

Haven’t read much discussion about this deal yet. After all, the iPod touch is generating a lot more buzz. But I think this partnership can lead to something.

Makes a lot of sense, this deal. Brand recognition. Co-branding. New avenues for music distribution. “Physical locations” and computer networks. Music discovery through exposure. Impulsive buying. Selling an ambiance.

As it so happens, I’ve been a fan of many Apple products. I’m not a total Apple fanboy. And I’m certainly not an “unconditional” of the company. But I do tend to be overly enthusiastic about some products they release and the approach they’re taking. I did get contracts as a campus representative for Apple about ten years ago. And I have high hopes for the company. So, I think this can be a good thing for Apple and I’m looking forward to that, even if it doesn’t change anything in my life.

I’m also an ethnomusicologist and a musician. I care about people’s enjoyment of music. And I care about musicians making a living through their musical activities. Because this can mean increased music sales, “I’m all for it.” Of course, I have some reservations about the way the iTunes music store works. But the basic principle makes a lot of sense and is pretty much musician-friendly.

I care a lot about cafés. I do think they’re important locations for a lot of things to happen. I even take notes about what I think the ideal café would be for me. And I celebrate the opening of new cafés where I live. So I think my love for cafés is well-served by an association with music. I had been thinking about a similar system for a while now, thinking that cafés would be great places to “diffuse” music. So I can’t complain that this dream I had is being fulfilled.

The only thing is, I have a thing about Starbucks. Not that I think it’s the most evil company in the world. But I dislike a lot of the effects they’ve had on the world of coffee. Some of their business tactics are very close to bullying so I enjoy it when they lose to a café owner. I also find the quality of their coffee to be subpar. Contrary to what many people in the United States seem to feel, I don’t get the impression that Starbucks increased my ability to get quality coffee. In fact, because of Starbucks and other café chains, I feel that coffee has often decreased in quality and certainly in diversity since Starbucks started its “worldwide” expansion. I’m not anti-globalisation. But I’m against the bulldozing of café culture.

Not to mention that I prefer local initiatives to provide free WiFi connections to local communities to T-Mobile’s restrictive business model.

So, though the partnership between the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and Starbucks should fill me with joy, I feel sad that Starbucks had to be the target of this deal. It makes a lot of sense and I understand Apple couldn’t have a more appropriate partner in the deal. But I would prefer a move toward broad partnerships across a wide range of people. Who knows, maybe this will spark a movement by online music distribution system (besides iTunes), wireless providers (besides T-Mobile), and cafés (besides Starbucks) to connect music listening and café-going in new ways.

It’s not the whole world that’s consolidating in a few multinational conglomerates.