Starbucks launches in-store CD burning service

HP provides PCs, 20,000 albums' worth of songs

Coffee shop chain Starbucks today unveiled its digital music initiative, as expected, offering beverage imbibers the chance to "burn full-length albums and personalised compilations from a comprehensive digital library".

The scheme, launched in partnership with HP, will kick off with the opening of the first Hear Music Coffeehouse in Santa Monica later today.

The store will be equipped with 70 HP Tablet PCs, allowing punters to search for songs from Starbucks' Hear Music catalogue of compilation CDs. Buyers can create personalised CDs in the store.

Hear Music has 55 compilation albums on offer, but Starbucks' roll-out plan indicates it will be offering "more than 20,000 full-length albums and hundreds of thousands of songs available to burn on CDs", which clearly suggests there's a rather bigger catalogue of digital downloads behind the scheme than Hear Music's own offerings. Given that Starbucks' partner is HP, and HP's music partner is Apple, it's hard to believe that the music isn't ultimately being delivered by the iTunes Music Store.

Starbucks will extend its music service to ten more stores in the Seattle area this Spring.

"With today's launch of the Hear Music Coffeehouse 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," said Don MacKinnon, VP, Starbucks Music and Entertainment, in a statement. ®

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