Starbucks and Spotify have announced a partnership that will drive listenership to the streaming service and allow the chain coffeeshop's customers to easily engage with music played at its 7,500 locations.
Through the Starbucks app, customers can (via location sharing) favorite and add the music playing during a visit to a store, and will be able to influence Starbucks' future curation through those song likes. The company has also begun curating longer playlists, far removed from the generally soporific sounds of their coffeeshops, within Spotify.
Gina Woods, vp of entertainment for Starbucks, tells Billboard their discussions with Spotify began over a year ago. "As we started to see our customers move away from CDs" -- the company announced it would stop selling the discs last February -- "we started to think about what the solution was."
"The sky's the limit," Woods continues. "This is the foundation, and we'll continue to build on it. We'll be able to add all types of features."
Any label would covet access to the millions of ears that order venti Salted Mocha Caramel Frappucinos. Asked of efforts by labels to lobby the company, Woods says that Starbucks has always maintained a positive, but neutral, relationship with artists and their representatives. "We're very neutral... they've never lobbied us," she tells Billboard. "We want them to share the music they have, and we select it. That relationship will continue." Woods points out the company's efforts to work with unsigned and emerging artists, as well as dedication of the two people responsible for those sounds coming from the speakers; Holly Hinton, director of curation for Starbucks, who began by making mixtapes for the she worked in, and David Legry, music programmer, who's been with the company for 17 years.
“Together with Starbucks," says Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, in a statement, "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."