I am not a big fan of going to Starbucks. There is always some kind of line, and I am forced to stare at the stale bistro boxes for five minutes longer than I would have liked. I like my coffee-getting process to be as quick and seamless as possible. I cannot be bothered with a barista and how my name is spelled.
Truth be told, I would happily take a $1.06 dark roast from Wawa over Starbucks’ any day. Alas, I am not in Philly, and beggars cannot be choosers. There have been a few times, however, where I may or may not have Shazam-ed a song while waiting in one of Starbucks’ absurdly congested lines. Starbucks does have good taste when it comes to its carefully curated soundtrack.
In February of 2015, Starbucks announced that it would stop selling CDs in its retail locations in order to keep up with the evolving nature of the music industry. It seems as though it is really keeping up, further exemplified by Starbucks’ recent partnership with Spotify.
Through the Starbucks app, customers can now add and favorite the music currently playing at the store they are in. Additionally, through their likes, customers are able to influence the future soundtrack at Starbucks.
Talks of a partnership began shortly after the termination of the selling of CDs at physical locations. Music was — and still is — a unique aspect of Starbucks. Starbucks’ focus on the music that is playing in each store is what differentiates it from other commercialized coffee chains. With the loss of CDs, the coffee giant had to think of a way to stay different and, most importantly, stay ahead.
Gina Woods, vice president of Starbucks entertainment, told Billboard that the company started looking for new solutions after it “started to see our customers move away from CDs.” When she realized that the “sky’s the limit,” she was able to come up with their best solution — Spotify.
While this is exciting for Starbucks, this is also huge for the commercial streaming service. This partnership means that Spotify’s audience has expanded to accommodate every one of Starbucks’ customers. This has become a valuable opportunity for labels as well. When asked about labels trying to woo the coffee chain, Woods stated that they are “very neutral … We want them to share the music they have, and we select it.” Through this partnership, Woods expressed her hopes to work with both unsigned and emerging talents in the music industry.
Even Daniel Ek, current CEO of Spotify, stated his optimism for the company’s future with Starbucks.
“Together with Starbucks, we’re creating a unique new digital music experience that offers Starbucks customers and Spotify users the ability to discover even more music at Starbucks and enjoy that same music and more on Spotify,” he said in a release from the Starbucks website.
While Michael Bublé and “Countdown to Christmas” holiday albums may be a thing of the past, Starbucks has not forsaken its eclectic and groovy sounds forever. The power is now in the consumers’ hands. If Tony Bennett is not your cup of tea, you can now do something about it. Maybe the next time I am in a Starbucks (and inevitably waiting), I will get to hear something from The xx or HONNE.