Starbucks Teams Up With Spotify After Abandoning Compact Discs

Spotify headquarters in Stockholm.

Spotify headquarters in Stockholm.

Photographer: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Starbucks Corp., once famous for hawking CDs at its registers, is moving into the age of streaming music.

The coffee chain, which stopped selling compact discs in March after 20 years, announced a partnership with Spotify that will let customers give feedback on the songs played at their local Starbucks. Users of the Spotify and Starbucks apps also will have access to playlists created by the company’s baristas.

“We’re really making the baristas the D.J.,” Daniel Ek, chief executive officer of Spotify, said on a conference call.

In addition to weighing in on the music played at Starbucks cafes, customers who sign up for Spotify premium subscriptions will earn “stars” that can be used through the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

Starbucks first started offering CDs in 1994, kicking things off with an album by Kenny G. Over the years, Starbucks has sold music from Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and Yo-Yo Ma.

“For many, many years, music has been a very significant part of the Starbucks experience,” CEO Howard Schultz said on a conference call. “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.”

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