Starbucks to drop Apple iTunes promos, Gift Cards, cut back in-store CD sales?

“Starbucks, which has been scaling back its once-grand ambitions to turn itself into an entertainment hub, is about to shrink its plans yet again. We hear that by September, the chain will have dumped almost all of its in-store music retail offerings,” Peter Kafka reports for Silicon Alley Insider.

“That means no more ‘spinner’ racks offering multiple CD choices to latte-buyers. And that also means no more gift cards and promotional giveaways for Apples iTunes. Instead, we’re told, the coffee chain will offer just four CD ‘slots’ per store,” Kafka reports. “But it will also continue to offer free Wi-fi access to Apple’s online music store and may continue to try to sell entertainment online.”

More info in the full article here.

It’s interesting that Starbucks would consider dumping iTunes Gift Cards as the card display takes up so little room and the cards seem to work quite well for other retailers like Target.


  1. Gee, I can’t imagine why Starbucks can’t sell music? A) People don’t go there for music. B) They seem to only have wacky “These are the favorite 5 or 10 songs of a barista in Nepal”. C) They don’t even play the music they have for sale in the store itself.

    They have such a small variety of music, most people just stand there waiting in line making fun of how ridiculous the music is.

  2. The problem with Starbucks has always been the LACK OF FREE INTERNET ACCESS!!!

    Sure I can understand in some locations that having people hogging much needed chairs all day for a $5 cup of latte is bad business, but they could at least made it a timed access.

    Buy a cup of coffee, get a access code, check your email or something vital for 10-20 minutes and your gone.

    All these businesses charging for internet access can suck my balls. Including Starbucks, despite how much I love their coffee.

  3. Where are the Starbucks iTunes stores?

    There’s a Starbucks next to the Moscone Center, where WWDC was held, and the much touted Starbucks iTunes store was conspicuously missing. The store didn’t even have free wi-fi.

    Needless to say, it wasn’t a good omen.

  4. I think it’s a good idea. I go to Starbucks for coffee, internet’s good. iTunes is a bonus in the background.

    Starbucks has been looking more and more like an Apple subsidiary. Better if it regains some character: more subtle about its relationship with Apple, less in its customers’ faces.

  5. “interesting that Starbucks would consider dumping iTunes Gift Cards.” It’s only interesting until you find out that a competitor has bought all the space to market their crappy also-ran music store…

  6. As long as gas is going to cost $4.00 to $5.00 a gallon, people will get their coffee from McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts. The coffee is just as good if not better than Starbucks and you won’t spend $6.00 for a Cappucino and a donut. Starbucks’ pricing, customer service and quality have dropped significantly in the past few years because they have spread themselves too thin.

    I do like the idea of them bringing back actual porcelain mugs to get your coffee in and having an hours worth of free internet access. If you want people to start respecting your Company again, you have to do a better job of providing exemplary customer service. Starbucks forgot this when they decided to sell $6.00 sandwiches and $20.00 CDs.

    I myself do not go to Starbucks anymore unless someone gives me a gift card… and I used to go all the time. Too expensive and poor quality coffee.

  7. @Mad Mac Maniac

    Starbucks provides free WiFi access here in Peru, and their shops are always full.

    I’m sure it would be the same in the US.

    I remember once in Cupertino (I lived in California for 7 years), at the shop in El Camino Real, you were able to pick WiFi from the city.

  8. Where am I going to steal all my new cee dees from now?

    Seriously, there was never any inventory protection in any of these stores. I live in NYC and once saw a homeless person walk in to my local Harbux, go straight to the music rack, grab a HANDFUL of cd’s and walk the f*** out the door.

  9. Starbucks is in a world of hurt. They can’t seem to get any operational aspects of their company right. The stores I go to are always out of stock of items for days at a time, many times I get the wrong order and customer service refuses to make the stores label items by name. Furthermore, after a week of free wi-fi based on using the customer rewards card, the train if off the rails and they can’t seem to get it working again.

    MDN magic word: Over is in it;s over, starbucks, its over!!!

  10. You MAC zealots make me want to puke in my triple-shot no-foam leave room on the top for extra-sugar frappacino.

    Every since we came out with our new roast (New Vistas), six years in development, you Mactards come in asking for a downgrade to original roast (XR). Why don’t you get with the program and just go with New Vistas Roast. Every sale is counted as a New Vista sale, downgrade or not, so sooner or later the SB franchises will stop carrying XR Original Roast anyway.

    Your potential / Our burning! passion

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