Starbucks forges into personalised music CD market

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 30, 2004

Starbucks forges into personalised music CD market

In selected coffee house locations in the USA, the Starbucks Coffee Company has launched a music CD burning service called the 'Hear Music Media Bar'. The service, powered by HP technology, allows customers to create personalised CD compilations and burn full-length albums from a digital library of songs.

Founded in 1990, Hear Music was bought out by Starbucks in 1999 to help its customers discover music they might not hear otherwise by offering a catalogue of hand-picked music compilation albums. (These are the same albums heard every day in Starbucks coffee houses around the world.)

In the first phase of a multi-phased US rollout of the Hear Music media bar, a total of 45 Starbucks retail locations are to offer the new DIY music CD service. The initial rollout, which builds on the announced success of the Starbucks Hear Music Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, California, has reached the first 45 stores, and will continue throughout November 2004.

Media bar features At each participating Starbucks location, customers will be able to use the media bar through self-service screens located throughout the store. Using a stylus pen on a touch screen, they are able to:

  • Explore musical interests through exclusive editorial features and recommendations;  
  • Burn (create) existing CD albums or create custom CD compilations, song by song, from an initial catalogue selection of more than 150,000 songs, covering a wide array of genres;  
  • Select personalised album artwork and titles for custom CDs;  
  • Listen to full-length songs and albums before purchasing them;  
  • Pay for CDs using a Starbucks Card or most major credit cards (including, of course, the Starbucks Card Duetto Visa card);  
  • Purchase a custom CD at the price of US$8.99 for the first seven songs, and US$0.99 for each additional song added.

"Starbucks is a trusted, familiar and convenient destination for millions of people every week and, by offering music services to our customers, we are continuing our tradition of delivering innovative products and services that enhance the overall Starbucks Experience," said Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz.

Future expansion In addition to the initial catalogue of songs, Starbucks also plans to offer exclusive content to its customers, with forthcoming exclusives including live performances from chart-topping artists, such as Jill Scott and Mos Def, and Willie Nelson. The company also anticipates extending the Hear Music media bar to other locations throughout 2005.

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