Starbucks is about to turn your barista into your DJ

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Freed from their duties as race relations thinkfluencers in America, Starbucks baristas will now be tasked with helping set the country's musical tastes.


Starting this fall, Starbucks baristas will begin receiving Spotify premium accounts that will allow them to help choose what music is playing in stores, the two companies announced Monday.

But they'll only be able to help — in an email to Fusion, a Starbucks rep said they'll only be able to choose from playlists curated by Starbucks' entertainment unit.

Starbucks customers will also get access to music put out exclusively by the coffee chain, which continues to partner with at least one music label, even though it just announced it would stop selling CDs.

“Starbucks has a rich music heritage and customers who are passionate music fans which makes us incredibly proud to be their music partner,” Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, said in a statement. “We’re really making the barista the D.J. here,” he added later in a conference call according to Wired.

According to, this actually used to be the way things worked at store chains until around 2006, when the company tried to push content from its in-house record label Hear Music, onto customers and employees alike.

Hear lasted two more years, after which it was basically shut down as the company turned over its music division to an actual record label, Concord. Concord continues to run a Hear Facebook page, though it hasn't been updated since November and links out to a dead page on Starbucks' website. Neither Hear nor Concord are mentioned in the companies' official press release.


Starbucks customers will also be able to rack up rewards points through their Spotify use, the companies said, and will themselves be able to "influence in-store playlists."

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.