As part of the Apple/Starbucks deal to enable the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store within coffee shops across the United States, the coffee-selling giant said it would give away 1.5 million iTunes song cards each day from 02-Oct-07 to 07-Nov-07. The catch? The songs are specific titles from 37 artists, including Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, who have released albums directly through Starbucks. The company said Bob Dylan’s “Joker Man” will be the first song given away.
At the iPod touch release on 05-Sep-07, Apple and Starbucks unveiled a partnership around the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, announced the same day (see “Apple Introduces iPod Touch, Wi-Fi iTunes Store, and New iPods,” 2007-09-10). Starting 02-Oct-07, iPhone, iPod touch, and all iTunes users can use Starbucks’s hotspot network – run by AT&T competitor T-Mobile – to purchase the current songs playing in a Starbucks and use the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. (Full Internet access over the network requires a fee or a subscription.)
Starbucks will also start selling “digital release cards” that enable purchasers to download a full album and bonus material from the iTunes Store. KT Tunstall, who performed at Apple’s iPod announcement, and Eddie Vedder will have the first two albums out – “Drastic Fantastic” for $14.99, and the soundtrack for “Into the Wild” for $11.99.
And in even more synergy, heaven help us all, Starbucks will start selling a special version of its stored-value card, an innovation that apparently helped boost revenue while reducing tips by keeping actual cash (and change) from trading hands. The so-called “limited-edition card” will offer two free iTunes downloads when registered via the Web, although it’s not clear from early coverage whether those will be specific songs or a generic credit. Maybe we’ll be able to tip our favorite baristas with song downloads in the future.