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More Friday Musings by “Content Guy” Kevin Coupe

The Boston Globe reports that after two decades of being a state of the art entertainment retailer with a high profile brand name, the last six Virgin Megastores in the US will close down this summer, victims in part of the nation’s financial troubles.

But even more deadly to the Virgin stores was a little contraption called the iPod, which popularized the concept of downloading music, television shows and movies from the Internet rather than buying physical CDs and DVDs.

Now, the Globe notes that there still are some 150 Virgin Megastores elsewhere in the world in the rest of the world, licensed to local ownership in Australia, Japan, and the Middle East.

If the owners of those stores think that business-as-usual is a viable strategy in the current environment, they’re crazy. It has nothing to do with the economy, and everything to do with the technology and intellectual game-changers that have forever affected how people gather and access information and entertainment.

Owning a CD/DVD store isn’t quite as hopeless as, say, being in the door-to-door encyclopedia sales business. But it’s close.

Along the same lines, it was noted in this space last week that as the Rocky Mountain News closed down, there are a lot of newspapers in trouble…also victims of technological shifts and changing priorities held by young consumers.

Which makes it interesting that Hearst Corp. – which has been threatening to close the San Francisco Chronicle if it cannot find a buyer – reportedly is considering turning the Seattle Post-Intelligencer into an Internet-only news service.

The P-I won’t be the same paper, nor will it have the same coverage, budget or ad base. If this happens, it will at least have the opportunity to develop a 21st century business model…to figure out how to monetize its core mission.

That’s what we all have to do in our businesses. Not ignore the future, or fight its intractable march. But embrace it.

KC's View: