Starbucks may have nixed its CDs, but the Seattle-based coffee company is still showing support for the music industry with Spotify.
Starbucks has announced a partnership with the Swedish music-streaming service that will let the coffee chain's employees and its 10 million loyalty members control the music in its stores in the US, Canada, and the UK starting this fall.
The company will kick off the program by giving 150,000 US employees Spotify Premium subscriptions, followed by memberships for Canadian and British employees. Staff will use the subscription to control the in-store music, and customers will be be able to access tailored playlists via the Starbucks mobile app. They will also be able to access the playlists remotely, so they can continue to listen to music long after leaving the store.
Starbucks will also let Spotify's 60 million users earn points toward the company's My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program – the first time ever that the chain has allowed an outside party access to its loyalty program. Spotify, in turn, will debut a section featuring playlists from Starbucks. Spotify Premium will also be promoted in stores as part of the deal.
“Throughout its history, Starbucks has worked closely with the music industry, offering a variety of artists a platform for their work," Starbucks chairman and chief executive officer Howard Shultz said in a press release. "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.”
The collaboration comes two months after Starbucks halted its in-store CD sales after 20 years. A spokesperson told Billboard.com in February that the music would continue to be an important part in the business, but the company "will continue to evolve the format of our music offerings to ensure we're offering relevant options for our customers."
CD sales across the board have been declining, thanks to the rise in music streaming. Last year, sales fell 14.9 percent, according to Nielsen's 2014 music report. Meanwhile, 169 billion songs were streamed last year – a 54.9 percent increase from 2013.
The partnership also represents another opportunity for Spotify to pull more people into paying for its premium service. Out of its 60 million users, only 15 million pay for the premium service. The rest use the free version.
Spotify has been vying for more paying customers through other collaborations. In November, the company paired up with ride-hailing service Uber to allow riders with a Spotify Premium subscription to choose the music in the car during their rides.