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TransWorld Ignores Internet, Loses $$

5:20 PM -- Blockbuster Music was never the hippest place to get your music, but I got $400 in Blockbuster Music gift certificates for my Bar Mitzvah, so the giant music retailer is actually somewhat dear to me. The combination of their forward-thinking CD-previewing bar and their lax policy on parental advisory stickers (shhhh!) allowed me to own some decent music back in my early teenage years. Plus this was before CD prices regularly crossed $18.

Anyway, Blockbuster later became Wherehouse and was eventually bought by TransWorld, as was every other CD store you used to see in the mall. Not surprisingly, TransWorld Entertainment is not doing so hot financially. You can read the mea culpas and the spin in the transcript of yesterday's conference call. The fading glimmers of hope seem to lie in expanding video game sales and interactive "mix and burn" consoles.

Scan the transcript for mentions of the FYE digital music store, TWE's sole earning property in cyberspace, and you will find only one. You would think a company whose primary business was once selling music would have been among the early adopters of the only growing section of the music business, right? Right? Bueller?

I'm especially concerned that FYE doesn't even run its own site. It leases the service from PassAlong through StoreBlocks. StoreBlocks's intended use as an embeddable music store is an innovative concept with a lot of potential. But for TWE to openly employ StoreBlocks as their entry in the digital music universe is straight up lazy. I mean, PassAlong will sell music anywhere, including in doubt. Right now it looks like TransWorld is giving up.

Wherehouse music, we pine for thee.

— A.L. Friedman, Editor at Large, Light Reading

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