(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Building on the success of the Starbucks Hear Music Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, CA, Starbucks Coffee Company is aggressively pursuing its position as an innovative player in the music industry with the national launch of the Hear Music Media Bar that allows Starbucks customers to create personalized CD compilations and burn full-length albums from a vast digital song library.
In the first phase of a multi-phased national rollout, 45 Starbucks retail locations in Seattle and Austin, TX, will offer this new music service powered by HP software, hardware and services.
"The Hear Music Media Bar demonstrates another highly strategic extension of our brand as we continue moving towards our goal of transforming the way music is discovered and acquired," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman. "Starbucks is a trusted, familiar and convenient destination for millions of people every week, and by offering compelling music services like this to our customers, we are continuing our tradition of delivering innovative products and services that enhance the overall Starbucks Experience."
The initial Hear Music Media Bar rollout will reach 15 Starbucks stores in Seattle beginning October 18, and 30 stores in Austin, starting on October 25. The rollout will continue throughout November.
"Starbucks offers a unique entertainment experience for both young music fans, and older, disenfranchised consumers who still have a love for quality music, but are not typically embraced by the music industry," said Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment. "Through the Hear Music Media Bar, we will help customers discover new, emerging and essential music, along with their favorite heritage artists in all genres."
Inside participating Starbucks locations, customers will interact with the Hear Music Media Bar at self-service screens placed throughout the store. Using a stylus pen on a touch screen, customers will be able to:
— Explore musical interests through exclusive Hear Music editorial features and recommendations;
— Quickly burn existing albums or create custom CD compilations, song by song, from an initial catalog of more than 150,000 hand-picked songs covering a wide array of genres;
— Select personalized album artwork and titles for custom CDs;
— Listen to full-length songs and albums before purchasing;
— Pay for CD creations using a Starbucks Card or most major credit cards, including the Starbucks Card Duetto Visa;
— Purchase a custom CD at the price of $8.99 for the first seven songs and $0.99 for each additional song;
"Our collective goal was to simplify how Starbucks customers can discover, access and enjoy music," said Gary Elliott, vice president, Brand Marketing, HP.
In addition to the extensive catalog of songs, Starbucks plans to offer exclusive content to consumers through the Hear Music Media Bar, including Starbucks-sponsored live performances from Jill Scott and Mos Def, who perform in Seattle on October 18; and Willie Nelson, who headlines a concert in Austin on November 14. Starbucks also collaborated with Rhino Records for exclusive distribution rights of live recordings from the recent Austin City Limits Festival.
The Hear Music Media Bar comes on the heels of the successful sales of Ray Charles Genius Loves Company; the launch of Starbucks "Hear Music" Channel 75 on XM Satellite Radio; the introduction of the new Starbucks Hear Music Coffeehouse retail concept; the recent release of Emmylou Harris Artist's Choice compilation CD; and the future release of Norah Jones Artist's Choice CD in early November.
Hear Music, founded in 1990, and acquired by Starbucks in 1999, creates CDs and music programming for Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide, as well as for the newly launched 24-hour Starbucks "Hear Music" Channel 75 on XM Satellite Radio. — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner