“A partnership with Hewlett-Packard will see customers ordering songs-to-go with their java. It already has the labels singing a happy tune,” Stanley Holmes reports for BusinessWeek. “Here’s a deal: Sip on a mocha latte while using headphones to listen to any of 250,000 songs you call up on a computer. Then order the ones you like — burned on your own CD — to go. Who’s the dealer? Starbucks.”
“BusinessWeek has learned that on Mar. 16, the Seattle coffee giant will unveil an in-store music service allowing customers to do just that, using Hewlett-Packard tablet computers to make their choices. The first musical Starbucks opens in Santa Monica, Calif., and the service will expand into 2,500 stores over the next two years. ‘This is not a test,’ says Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz. ‘We’re going for it,'” Holmes reports.
“With 30 million weekly customers who trust Starbucks not just for its many beverages but also for its ability to create an attractive lifestyle brand around upscale coffee culture, execs think they see a huge market for selling music,’ Holmes reports.
“Ultimately, CDs will be a thing of the past, so Starbucks will have to keep a wary eye on its digital competitors such as Apple’s iTunes… Starbucks foresees its music-customer base centered among middle-age javaholics, many of whom don’t even go to music stores, let alone download songs. Prices will be comparable to Apple’s iTunes service: $6.99 for five songs, the minimum purchase. Albums will cost $12.95. To appeal to a younger set, Starbucks will ultimately offer wireless downloads to laptops or portable players,” Holmes reports.
“With partner Hewlett-Packard supplying the high-powered CD burners, the special printers for the CD covers, the tablet PCs, the digital storage, and the army of servers, Starbucks figures it is taking the best of the digital world into the coffee shop,’ Holmes reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: This BusinessWeek article seems to assume this Starbucks entry will be an Apple iTunes Music Store competitor. But, HP and Apple are already partners with HP bundling iTunes and the included iTunes Music Store on all HP consumer computers. In addition, HP’s forthcoming digital music player is a rebranded Apple iPod. So, what are the chances that Starbucks and HP are actually using Apple’s iTunes or would they waste the time to try to completely reinvent the wheel? Keep an eye on this one.
[UPDATE, 11:08am: Wi-Fi Networking News, in their article, “Starbucks Serves Music A La Carte,” speculates, “Since HP is the partner, and is reselling their own version of the iPod, it’s possible that the ultimate digital delivery system will be a version of the iTunes Music Store.” Full article here.]
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