International coffee chain Starbucks has signed a multi-year partnership with music streaming service Spotify that will connect Starbucks' 7,000 stores in the United States and their 10 million My Starbucks Rewards (MSR) members with the 60 million global users of Spotify.

The partnership will allow members of the Starbucks loyalty program to access Starbucks music found on Spotify and give them the option to provide feedback for changes in playlists of Starbucks stores.

Starbucks MSR members will also be able to earn Stars as Currency.

"For over forty years, music has played a vital role in Starbucks Third Place experience," said Starbucks CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz, adding that the music in the company's stores have been able to inspire its employees and customers in ways unexpected, shaping pop culture all over the world.

Schultz added that Starbucks has had a close working relationship with the music industry in the past, as the company has offered artists with a platform through which to sell their music.

Schultz is referring to the fact that Starbucks has been selling music CDs since 1994, with the first album sold being one by Kenny G. Other artists featured in Starbucks include Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Yo-Yo Ma.

The company decided to stop selling CDs after 20 years in March, and is seemingly now entering the streaming music business as a replacement.

The "next generation music ecosystem" to be developed by Starbucks and Spotify will launch through a phased rollout, beginning this fall in the United States. The program will then expand afterwards to the United Kingdom and Canada. Employees of Starbucks in these locations will all receive subscriptions to Spotify Premium and will be given access to tools to shape the in-store music of Starbucks branches.

"We're really making the baristas the D.J.," said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a conference call that discussed the new partnership.

Users of Spotify will also be able to obtain Stars as Currency for the Starbucks MSR program, which will be the first instance that the loyalty program will be accessed by a third party. Spotify will also create a section dedicated to Starbucks playlists and the most popular music from the coffee chain over the past 20 years.

Photo: Chris McClanahan | Flickr

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