Hear Music, Starbucks' branded digital music-delivery service that's backed by technology from Hewlett-Packard, is the coffee-shop chain's attempt to bring together mochas and music. In the Santa Monica store, Starbucks has deployed 70 HP Tablet PCs and staffs a "listening bar" with music experts who recommend new tunes and artists.
Customers can listen to track previews, much as they can in music stores, then use the Tablet PCs to compile a collection and burn a custom CD.
Starbucks has big plans for the Hear Music service. "With today's launch and our plan to bring this service to Starbucks, we believe we can make it easier for consumers to find music they love, as well as create a platform for artists to be discovered," Don MacKinnon, a Starbucks VP in charge of the company's music and entertainment group, said in a statement.
In the spring, Starbucks plans to expand the concept to 10 stores in the Seattle area, the company's home. Digital editions of more than 20,000 albums and hundreds of thousands of music tracks will be available for burning.