Barnesandnoble.com Jumps into Online Music Fray

One would think that the Internet was growing crowded with online music retailers such as CDnow/N2K, Amazon.com, EveryCD, and Tower Records, just to name a few, all hustling CDs. But the lure of gold in them e-commerce hills is hard to resist. Last week, barnesandnoble.com jumped into the fray and announced the launch of its own Music Store, featuring what the company describes as the first "online classical music superstore." Notably late to market with its online bookselling franchise, barnesandnoble.com hopes to gain ground against arch-rival Amazon.com by expanding beyond books and better focusing on niche markets.

Barnesandnoble.com says that the foundation for the new music site is the All-Music Guide database, with customers able to browse through music titles across 16 main categories and over 1000 subcategories. As an example, the company states that a customer visiting the Jazz page can find CDs in the 13 most popular jazz styles, as well as 100 substyles ranging from Kansas City Big Band to Boogie Woogie to Brazilian Jazz.

The company says that the classical music superstore will stock classical CDs, DVDs, books, videos, software, magazines, cassettes, and sheet music—all in one location. Customers can browse by composer, performer, ensemble, instrument, conductor, album title, composition title, historical period, or any combination of these.

Barnesandnoble.com also hopes to lure repeat shoppers with in-depth music commentary, including "Editors' Picks" as well as recommendations and reviews from journalists, writers, and critics. The editorial mix is said to include interactive artist chats and monthly columns from such well-known experts as Gary Giddins, jazz critic for The Village Voice and winner of the 1999 National Critics Circle award for Criticism; Jim Svedja, public radio host and author; and Doctor Demento, nationally syndicated radio host and musicologist. For enthusiasts and new music collectors, "Fundamentals," a section found on every main category page, is a genre-by-genre guide to recommended "must-have" albums.

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