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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 14:39 GMT
Starbucks 'to offer music to go'
Starbucks' coffee
The coffee giant wants to take advantage of music industry changes
Coffee bar chain Starbucks is to offer music downloads in its stores from this month, according to a business magazine.

The chain will unveil an instore music service in the US on 16 March, allowing customers to listen to more than 250,000 tracks, said Business Week.

They can then order tracks they like, have them burnt on to a CD and buy it when they leave.

The service will be unveiled in a store in Santa Monica, California.

It will then be rolled out to the other 2,500 stores in the US over the next two years.

Music changes

"This is not a test," said Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz. "We're going for it.''

The company, one of the biggest cafe chains in the world, said it wanted to take advantage of the way the music industry was changing, with people relying more on more on the internet.

It believes it can capture a large chunk of the market. Starbucks currently makes more than $4.1bn (2.27bn) in revenue each year.

Your typical barista may be great at making espresso but is not in a position to fix the broken CD burner,
Music analyst Josh Bernoff

It has drawn up licensing agreements with most of the major music chains, and will reportedly offer tracks from artists as diverse as Britney Spears, Polyphonic Spree and Ray Charles.

However, one analyst warned the company could be over-extending itself, and that its staff were not trained to deal with music.

"Your typical barista may be great at making espresso but is not in a position to fix the broken CD burner,'' says Josh Bernoff, a digital music analyst.

Prices for the service are expected to be similar to those for the Apple iTunes brand, which charges 99 cents for a song.



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