Act 3: Blockbuster Goes Into Wide Release
By 1993 there were more than 3,400 stores and Blockbuster was looking beyond its core video chain business to fuel growth. Its next conquest—the music industry. The company purchased music chains Sound Warehouse and Music Plus and entered a partnership with Virgin Retail to open music mega-stores in the U.S., Europe and Australia that were later called Blockbuster Music.
Huizenga had grandiose dreams when he dove into the music business, envisioning entertainment centers that rented movies, sold music, computer programs, video games and featured virtual reality entertainment arcades. Blockbuster entered into a deal with IBM to develop a system for instant duplication of CDs in-stores, creating a digital database. Huizenga was, technically, making the first foray into digital music. In his “music stores of the future” Huizenga foresaw customers to come in, browse a vast music selection, and then make their own customizable CDs of their favorite songs and artists.
Of course, music studios and record labels didn’t react favorably to these ideas.