Starbucks may have announced it would be saying goodbye to CDs this past February, but the omnipresent coffeemakers have not given up on music. On Tuesday, the company announced a new partnership with Spotify to create what it’s calling a “music ecosystem.”
As part of the program, baristas and other Starbucks employees will now get a Spotify Premium subscription, which they’ll be able to use, with special tools, to influence the music people hear while sipping espresso in the stores. Spotify will also make Starbucks-curated playlists available on its service and in the Starbucks Mobile App. The streaming service will offer other Starbucks-related playlists that highlight the most popular music played in stores over the past two decades.
Additionally, Spotify users will be able to participate in Starbucks’ My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, earning “Stars as Currency,” marking the first time the company has opened the program up to a third party. Starbucks will be promoting Spotify Premium, the pay version of the streaming service, which has begun facing criticism from artists like Taylor Swift and competition from Jay Z.
Completing the “ecosystem,” customers will also be able to suggest songs for playlists.
“Throughout its history, Starbucks has worked closely with the music industry, offering a variety of artists a platform for their work,” Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement. “By connecting Spotify’s world-class streaming platform into our world-class store and digital ecosystem, we are reinventing the way our millions of global customers discover music.”
“Starbucks has a rich music heritage and customers who are passionate music fans which makes us incredibly proud to be their music partner,” Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, said. “Spotify has powered more than 25 billion hours of listening around the world so far, and we’re looking forward to creating unique in-store music experiences while also making more than 20 years of popular Starbucks music available to both Starbucks customers and Spotify’s 60 Million global music fans.”
Everything will roll out in the U.S. this fall, followed by Canada and the U.K. shortly thereafter.
Long before it bid adieu to the compact disc, Starbucks had a fruitful relationship with the music industry. It began selling original CDs in 1994, starting with a jazz compilation called Blue Note Blend. By 2007, the franchise was successful enough to sign Paul McCartney as the first artist to its fledgling Hear Music label.
Starbucks also created CDs spotlighting the greatest hits of Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt, and it allowed artists to pick their own favorite songs by other musicians with Starbucks Artist Choice CDs. Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Ray Charles all participated in the program.