One of the most tone-deaf business decisions of the past year was Starbucks’ attempt to start a conversation about race relations in America while making your morning coffee. But their just-announced partnership with Spotify sounds much more logical, and probably a step in the right direction. Even though they’re getting out of the the CD selling business, the coffee company remains as dedicated to music discovery as it ever has been. They’ve always had a steady stream of music playing in-house, but now that will all be powered through Spotify.
Starting in the fall, each Starbucks location will have a playlist that will be influenced by the employees at the store, giving them more freedom to the play the kind of music that they want. (Within certain parameters, I’m sure.) The Spotify app will also gain a Starbucks-branded section that will let anyone listen to music that’s played in stores on-the-go. In addition, all Starbucks employees will receive a free Spotify Premium subscription, and it sounds like members of the Starbucks rewards program will be able to trade in “stars” that they earn buying products for special access to Premium.
This is a pretty big change from Starbucks’ long-time arrangement with Apple, with whom they began a partnership with in 2007. iTunes previously provided all the in-house music, with options to purchase each song through the iTunes store, and countless promotions for free downloads for both songs and apps were offered throughout the years. It’s interesting that Starbucks is choosing to make this announcement now, with Apple’s new streaming service on the horizon.