It’s awesome indeed, this new-concept music store on the trendy Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. It’s a beautiful space with warm lighting and wood paneling — a place where you can buy regular old CDs, or linger with a drink while you listen to music and sift through thousands of songs stored in a computer database to create your very own personalized, mixed-CD masterpiece. In about five minutes, a freshly burned CD, complete with your chosen title and funky artwork on both the disc and the jacket (plus liner notes!) will be ready to take home. It all happens very smoothly, and yet it’s a novel and startling experience. But what’s most startling about this remarkable new place to buy music is this: It’s a Starbucks.
[…] With the help of technology partner Hewlett-Packard, Starbucks plans to have 100 coffee shops across the country enabled with Hear Music CD-burning stations by next Christmas, and more than 1,000 locations up and running by the end of 2005. Think iTunes meets Tower Records. With lattes.
Slashdot discussion: Starbucks – Your Next Music Superstore? — note that, if it’s Hewlett-Packard, I’ll be amazed if these CDs will be DRM-free — but there’s no way to tell until I try one.