Starbucks, iTunes make song deal

Company plans to give away 50 million tunes

Starbucks is readying to make some serious noise about its music deal with Apple, with the company planning to give its customers more than 50 million songs to download on iTunes.

Starting Oct. 2, more than 10,000 of the Seattle-based coffee giant’s company-owned stores will give away 1.5 million free songs each day for the promo, which runs through Nov. 7.

Artists involved in the “Song of the Day” giveaway include Bob Dylan, Joss Stone, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, KT Tunstall, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, Keith Urban, Paul McCartney, Sia, Band of Horses, Hilary McRae, Federico Aubele and Sara Bareilles.

Artists and tracks given out on the iTunes Digital Release Cards were chosen by Starbucks Entertainment, with record labels providing Starbucks the tracks as part of the promotion.

Customers will have until the end of the year to redeem the songs on iTunes.

Starbucks is hoping to use the effort to draw attention to its iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, which begins rolling out in 600 stores in New York and Seattle in October.

Service will then be introduced to stores in the San Francisco Bay area in early November. Starting in early February and March, stores in Los Angeles and Chicago will offer the service, with locations in other markets set to follow later in 2008.

By the end of next year, 25% of Starbucks stores will offer the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, said Ken Lombard, prexy of Starbucks Entertainment.

Powered by T-Mobile’s HotSpot Wi-Fi network, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store will enable Starbucks customers to wirelessly download music onto their iPhone, iPod touch or laptop computers, with no Wi-Fi connection fees or HotSpot login required.

Starbucks also will introduce a new “Now Playing” feature, which allows customers to buy and download music they hear playing in the stores they visit.

Lombard called the music offer and Apple deal “the first step in combining the power of brick-and-mortar retail and digital music.”

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