In the wake of ending CD sales in its stores in March, Starbucks has announced its alternative music plan. It’s partnering with Spotify in a deal that will kick off in the US this fall (followed by Canada and the UK) and use Spotify’s mobile app to let music playlists be curated and shared between the 16 million My Starbucks Rewards Members, more than 16,000 baristas and Spotify subscribers, whether in-store or on the go.
The multiyear online music streaming is a multiyear collaboration, and a unique partnership that will let baristas and customers alike have a say in the playlist, creating a crowdsourced spin on the retail entertainment experience. The collaboration will drive subscriptions and memberships to both companies, as well as insights into their mobile marketing customer data.
By linking both brands’ loyalty rewards, customers will be able to see lists of songs played by baristas in their coffee shop under a new section in their mobile app, which can be played anywhere. Starbucks will also offer Spotify users rewards points to its loyalty program.
“For many, many years, music has been a very significant part of the Starbucks experience,” CEO Howard Schultz told Bloomberg. “The music in our stores gave us license over the years to be in the physical CD business and as many of you know that turned into a very, big and important business for Starbucks.”
“This is an innovative new digital experience that we are developing with Spotify,” Schultz told James Cramer in an interview this afternoon with Spotify COO Kevin Johnson, hinting that other “like-minded” brand partners may be added to the Starbucks digital entertainment ecosystem.
The announcement also got a boost on NBC’s The Voice, which is promoting My Starbucks loyalty memberships in a subscriber acquisition push this week that includes free refills.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) May 19, 2015
More details on the partnership in the press release:
Starbucks and Spotify Redefine Retail Experience by Connecting Spotify Music Streaming Service Into World-Class Store and Digital Platform
Partnership Connects Starbucks 7,000 U.S. Company-Owned Stores, 10M-Member My Starbucks Rewards Loyalty Program and Spotify’s 60M Users to Create First-of-Its-Kind Music Ecosystem
MSR Members and Spotify Users to Earn “Stars as Currency” for Subscribing to Spotify Premium
Popular Starbucks Music Made Available for Everyone on Spotify
SEATTLE– Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) today announced that it has entered into a letter of intent with leading music streaming service, Spotify®, to establish a multi-year relationship that will link its 7,000 company-operated stores in the U.S. and 10 Million My Starbucks Rewards® loyalty members with Spotify’s more than 60 Million global users to offer a first-of-its-kind music ecosystem. This interconnectivity will allow Starbucks MSR members unique access to Starbucks music on Spotify, the ability to influence in-store playlists as well as opportunities for Starbucks MSR members to earn “Stars as Currency.”
“For over forty years, music has played a vital role in Starbucks Third Place experience – inspiring our partners and customers in unexpected ways that have helped to shape the global pop culture. And we are delighted and honored to bring Spotify directly to our customers,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. “Throughout its history, Starbucks has worked closely with the music industry, offering a variety of artists a platform for their work. By connecting Spotify’s world-class streaming platform into our world-class store and digital ecosystem, we are reinventing the way our millions of global customers discover music.”
Through a phased rollout later this fall in Starbucks® U.S. company-owned locations, followed shortly thereafter in Canada and the United Kingdom, the agreement specifies that Starbucks and Spotify will collaborate on a next generation music ecosystem. As part of the agreement, Spotify Premium will be promoted in these stores.
Coming first, Starbucks 150,000 U.S.-based partners (employees) will receive a Spotify Premium subscription, followed shortly thereafter by partners in Canada and the U.K. This fall, Starbucks partners can help shape the in-store music programming using tools provided by Spotify. These partner-influenced playlists will then be accessible on Spotify via the Starbucks Mobile App so that customers can stream music anywhere, anytime from their mobile device.
In addition, Spotify users will enjoy opportunities to obtain “Stars as Currency” for My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program. This will represent the first time that Starbucks loyalty program stars can be accessed by a third party for the benefit of Starbucks MSR members and Spotify users. Spotify will also include a dedicated section on Spotify featuring new playlists from Starbucks and its most popular music from the past 20 years, available to all Spotify users.
“Starbucks has a rich music heritage and customers who are passionate music fans which makes us incredibly proud to be their music partner,” said Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify. “Spotify has powered more than 25 Billion hours of listening around the world so far, and we’re looking forward to creating unique in-store music experiences while also making more than 20 years of popular Starbucks music available to both Starbucks customers and Spotify’s 60 Million global music fans.”
“We plan on building one of the most robust digital ecosystems of any retailer in the world. Given the evolution of the music industry and the proliferation of streaming technology, it was natural that we would partner with Spotify in offering our customers a new way to engage with their favorite music,” added Kevin Johnson, president and coo of Starbucks. “Starbucks ability to innovate with partners such as Spotify, creating new ways and platforms to engage with our customers, will afford us unprecedented interconnectivity across all of our capabilities, and provide new access points for Spotify as they continue to grow globally.”
For more than four decades, Starbucks has built a differentiated Third Place experience with music at the heart of its coffeehouse culture. In 1994, a dedicated entertainment team began selecting original CDs spanning a diversity of musical genres and geographies. This program has spotlighted the extraordinary careers of legendary artists such as the late John Lennon, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt, among many others. Bob Dylan, Yo-Yo Ma, the Rolling Stones and Ray Charles are among the legends who identified their favorite recordings for Starbucks Artist Choice series. Starbucks seasonal CDs have celebrated moments ranging from Valentine’s Day to summer road trips to holiday festivities. Starbucks has also become a champion of emerging artists such as John Legend, Madeleine Peyroux and Fleet Foxes, introducing customers to these musicians at an early point in their careers.