Lilian Min
May 20, 2015 5:27 am

Starbucks has had influence in the music world ever since it started stocking CDs in its stores in the ’90s, and even ended up recruiting musicians like Paul McCartney and Sonic Youth to release albums through the brand’s in-house music label, Hear Music. In general though, when we think of Starbucks music, we imagine the latest pop releases sitting pretty next to the best of adult contemporary; lilting, inoffensive but not empty pop rock adding to the cozy (often to the point of cramped) atmosphere.

That’s all about to change. Starbucks already made waves when it announced that it was no longer selling CDs in stores this past March, but the reason behind the chain’s decision wasn’t, in fact, to free up more shelf space for granola bars: This week, Starbucks announced that it was working with Spotify to create interactive playlists in each of its 7,000+ US stores. And that’s not all.

The partnership provides all of the chain’s baristas with free Spotify Premium accounts. They’ll then use their accounts to program the music at the shop where they work—and influence a constant stream of customers with their selections.

“We’re really making the barista the D.J. here,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said on a conference call with Wired.

Baristas will still have to pick music out of a “brand-appropriate” collection curated by Starbucks’s existing music management team, but within that selection, they’ll be able to customize the playlists of their individual stores.

And lest you think the Starbucks/Spotify collaboration only really affects the chain’s staff, Starbucks customers will be able to access lists and make suggestions through the Starbucks app. Plus, those who purchase Spotify’s premium membership ($10 a month) will earn Starbucks rewards points. That means more lattes for you, and more time for baristas to introduce you to new music. We’re down with that.

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