Starbucks and Spotify have just announced a huge, multi-year deal that will make the subscription service a central element of Starbucks' in-store music experience. It'll also let customers earn free drinks if they subscribe to Spotify Premium.
All told, the agreement will link 7,000 Starbucks locations in the United States with Spotify's 60 million users to create what the new partners call "a first-of-its-kind music ecosystem." Starbucks employees (or "partners" as the company calls them) will all receive complimentary access to Spotify Premium and be able to influence the in-store playlist at Starbucks locations. They'll do this "using tools provided by Spotify," though the press release doesn't get more specific than that. Those playlists will then be made available to all Spotify users through a dedicated Starbucks section of the app.
Clearly Starbucks is getting some special treatment (and big exposure) here, but so is Spotify. For the first time ever, Starbucks is opening up its loyalty program to a third-party service. Spotify Premium subscribers will be able to earn "Stars as Currency," though the specifics on this aren't yet clear. How many months will you have to pay for Spotify before you're rewarded with a free frappucino or latte? We don't yet know. Starbucks will also promote Spotify Premium via marketing materials in its stores, which should help the company as it competes against the likes of Tidal, Apple, Google, and others.
The Spotify / Starbucks partnership will be rolled out in phases starting this fall in the US before expanding to Canada and the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, Starbucks announced that it would stop selling CDs in its stores. "Music will remain a key component of our coffeehouse and retail experience, however we will continue to evolve the format of our music offerings to ensure we're offering relevant options for our customers," the company told Billboard. Spotify just became a huge part of that strategy.