CD Warehouse has eye on the future with digital music kiosk

Management with Oklahoma City-headquartered CD Warehouse, which sells music to a worldwide market with more than 150 franchise stores, is hoping a new digital music kiosk will keep their brick-and-mortar record stores relevant in this digital age by giving customers access to a massive music database.

The kiosk is getting a trial run at the 900 N. Broadway store, and if it catches on, management might send the kiosks to their other stores, said Kelly Keele, director of franchise operations.

"The kiosks allow customers to burn CDs the way they want them to be," Keele said. "They are also able to plug in an audio device and download directly."

So far, the kiosks have seen a lot of business from DJs making mix tapes and customers looking for obscure albums, Keele said.

The music database is vast, but not limitless, due to copyright restrictions. It isn't compatible with iPods or Sony flashcards, but the kiosks give CD Warehouse another tool to survive music's transition into the digital world.

CD Warehouse owner Chris Salyer said despite the competition of Internet sales, many customers still crave the record-store experience and by keeping knowledgeable staff on board, many music lovers become loyal buyers.

"You still have a segment who wants the CD they've been looking for. They want the case, they want the artwork," Keele said. "It is still a viable area. With the younger kids, I'm not sure. It's changing and that's why we're always watching our market." "Charles Martin