Starbucks & HP to serve up music downloads | iLounge News

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Starbucks & HP to serve up music downloads

“Here’s a deal: Sip on a mocha latte while using headphones to listen to any of 250,000 songs you call up on a computer. Then order the ones you like—burned on your own CD—to go. Who’s the dealer? Starbucks (SBUX ).

BusinessWeek has learned that on Mar. 16,the Seattle coffee giant will unveil an in-store music service allowing customers to do just that, using Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ) tablet computers to make their choices. The first musical Starbucks opens in Santa Monica, Calif., and the service will expand into 2,500 stores over the next two years. “This is not a test,” says Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz. ‘We’re going for it.’”

Editor’s note: We wonder if the service will be iPod compatible and use AAC instead of WMA. How does the HP branded iPod fit into this service?

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Comments

1

This service probably won’t get off the ground.

For starters, the minimum purchase is 5 songs priced at $6.99.

Albums are $12.95.

That’s just crazy pricing, but then again, it is Starbucks.

Posted by Steven on March 11, 2004 at 12:39 PM (PDT)

2

I’m glad to see something innovative occuring, but the pricing is way too steep.  $6.99 for 5 songs???  That’s the price of a full album for New Artists at Best Buy.

I don’t go to Starbucks, but I definately would if they allowed you to download 1-2 songs for FREE to your iPod when you order a drink.

Posted by Ryan on March 11, 2004 at 1:06 PM (PDT)

3

They already sell lots of CDs in starbucks that cost $15. And they are pretty good CDs too. I’m sure it will be a great way for people to listen to new music and then decide to buy a few songs without having the hassle of DRM. From the way it sounds, you will be buying a CD encoded in CD Audio, so there should the debate over WMA and AAC is not an issue… Just go home an rip it however you want.

Posted by digitaltrapper on March 11, 2004 at 1:08 PM (PDT)

4

And think how much they charge for coffee the robbing b’stards!

Posted by Big Bollox the 2nd on March 11, 2004 at 1:21 PM (PDT)

5

I think what we really want is to copy directly to our ipod without having to create a cd at all.  Wheather or not a work-around can be created to deal with the WMA v. AAC issue is a question.

The cost factor I don’t see as that big of an issue given the convenience…maybe (as Ryan suggested) a price break is given to those who make a seperate purchase?

Posted by mark on March 11, 2004 at 1:27 PM (PDT)

6

“To appeal to a younger set, Starbucks will ultimately offer wireless downloads to laptops or portable players.”

I’m thinkning they are going to have an iTunes-based process, especially if they are eventually going to allow you to download to portable players.  If the hPod is not going to allow wma and they are working with HP on this program, you know HP is going to make this work with their (ie Apple’s) player.

Posted by me on March 11, 2004 at 1:36 PM (PDT)

7

?!  The pricing isn’t too bad.

That’s about $0.99 per song, plus about a buck for the CD-R itself.

Not unreasonable, anyway.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on March 11, 2004 at 1:43 PM (PDT)

8

last summer at a phish concert/festival, they had a ‘house of live phish’ - a tent outfitted with like 30 iMacs where they gave you a blank CD and you went up to an iMac and there was an itunes library of a few hundred live tracks in high quality (maybe even lossless format - I don’t remember) - you could choose your mix and then burn it to the disc for free (well, free except the time spent waiting to get access to a computer).  Obviously, this won’t be free, but I’m picturing a similar sort of setup, based on iTunes…

Posted by me on March 11, 2004 at 2:03 PM (PDT)

9

It’d be very cool if they had the same thing and you could just give them your iPod and downloaded the songs onto it. It wouldn’t take very much training for the staff, as they could just have a dock sitting next to a computer [same computer they are burning the cds from] and just chuck it in. V. simple

Posted by harrison on March 11, 2004 at 4:53 PM (PDT)

10

Starbucks does it again.  This is unquestionably a great idea. 

Posted by A on March 11, 2004 at 7:22 PM (PDT)

11

Universities may be missing a potential gold mine here. With the number of students who use computers for academic and (especially) non-academic purposes, the opportunity to sell music online via school websites is there for the taking. Computer labs could allow for students to burn CDs of the songs they just purchased; students with their own computers would be able to do with the music what they like.

I may be missing some aspects to this potential gravy train, so feel free to add to or subtract from my points.

Posted by Aries73 on March 11, 2004 at 8:40 PM (PDT)

12

Let me get this straight: you buy the music and the only way you can take it with you is to burn it onto a CD?  That’s so last century.

The only potential benefits I can see in buying music from SBUX is if (1) the song(s) is an exclusive, not available elsewhere, and (2) as gift purchases. 

Why these companies aren’t partnering with Apple is beyond me.  Apple’s got the best distribution model to date, and if I were in a position to make a decision between building my own music service or leveraging current technology, I’d choose the later.  Besides, isn’t the Starbucks crowd the same people in the iPod crowd?

Posted by matthew on March 12, 2004 at 7:07 AM (PDT)

13

Look, stop bullshitting - NO ONE actually pays for music any more. We get posted a DVD featuring every single new Top 40 album out that week for a cost of 2.50 per week, and that’s about enough to spend on the crap that’s available.

Posted by I speak the truth on March 12, 2004 at 9:03 AM (PDT)

14

First, I wish Business Week and the rest of the lame mass-media outlets would stop reporting on every new digitial music initiative as if it will the one new business model to save the industry.
Secondly, this isn’t a download service…not yet anyway…it’s a custom CD business…an extension of their branded CD business, except the customer gets to choose the songs that Starbucks puts on a retail CD…
Third, their price point is way too high, as previously noted here.
Fourth, as this service is targeted to the many folks who don’t currently own a CD burner, don’t know how to download songs, legally or illegally, and who feel the need to “explore” new music, won’t that mean people will be sitting at the HP Kiosk for hours at a time, looking through all the tracks, learning how to use the system - who will wait until these neophytes are finally done?
Fifth, when they move to allowing people to download songs directly to their laptop/portable device, won’t Starbucks wish they hadn’t spent all that money on the HP kiosks?
Sixth, they haven’t announced yet what rights you are granted when you buy the CD. If you’re paying a full retail price of the CD, you better be able to do what you want with the tracks.

I don’t buy this business model as it’s been tried a few times before, both as kiosks (Personics) and online (imix.com)...those businesses generated significant initial interest, and then they all crashed and burned.

We all know that Apple can break even on iTunes because of our jonesing for iPods, but will Starbucks really sell incrementally more coffee because we’ll jones for a custom CD? I don’t think so.

Posted by Thecriminal on March 12, 2004 at 10:07 AM (PDT)

15

>> “... burn it onto a CD? That’s so last century.” - Matthew
>> “... NO ONE actually pays for music any more.” - I speak the truth

You’re both on the forefront of technology, so good for you, but you’re way out of touch with the rest of America.

Nearly 50% of American households don’t have computers, about 60% don’t have internet access. Only one of every seven Americans have high speed internet access. That’s a lot of people that can’t buy or download music on-line. Starbuck just opened up the market for these people. They’ll be able to check out new music and have the choice to buy only songs that they want instead of buying an entire album. It’s a smart move, and I think they’ll do well.

Posted by Starboard on March 12, 2004 at 10:48 AM (PDT)

16

new market…? i doubt people without internet and computers by now have the resources to spend $5(? never been there) on a coffee

Posted by omgwtf on March 12, 2004 at 11:33 AM (PDT)

17

Starboard, your stats are old.

CIA world factbook—USA notes that over 57% of the total US population has internet access (165.75 million of the total population of a bit under 290.35 million) as of 7/2003.

Internet World Stats which I am not 100% sure is a fully trustworthy source seems inline, with January 04 figures at 199,096,845 internet users from a population of 294,540,100, and notes 18,700,000 broadband users in December 2002, a number which has likely increased significantly over the last 14 months, so your 1 in 7 with broadband may be correct.

But broadband is irrelavent here. They’re *in* starbucks, which *has* broadband. They’re able to burn it onto a CD so they can take it with them. The real complaint is that people should be able to add the songs to their ipods, but it should be pretty obvious why they can’t do that… remember what happens when you plug an ipod into someone else’s computer? It asks if you want to wipe the songs off. First time that happens, you have a *very* pissed off customer.

Posted by JC on March 12, 2004 at 12:39 PM (PDT)

18

You’re both on the forefront of technology, so good for you, but you’re way out of touch with the rest of America

What does the Internet have to do with Starbucks’ new service?

One can own an iPod and use 100% of its functionality sans ‘net, so I’m not clear on what the point of your rebuttal was.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that your argument actually works AGAINST you: if most people don’t have broadband, their access to a wider range of songs limited to music they buy or borrow physically, then being able to directly DL music to one’s MP3 player at Starbucks actually benefits these people.  Buying a CD only adds 20 minutes to the process unnecessarily.

Posted by matthew on March 12, 2004 at 12:49 PM (PDT)

19

Omgwtf, I know lots of people without computers who have plenty of resources. A few of them even frequent starbusian establishments. And by the same token, I know lots of dirt-poor people who have computers and internet. It’s a matter of priorities and interest, not price, when computers can be had for under 100 dollars and internet access can be free or extremely inexpensive.

Posted by JC on March 12, 2004 at 12:50 PM (PDT)

20

agreed

Posted by omgwtf on March 12, 2004 at 3:48 PM (PDT)

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