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Friday, October 15, 2004
Starbucks launches first of "music bars" for CD burning

Coffee shop giant Starbucks said it was launching the first of its "music bars" where customers can listen to digital recordings and burn their own CDs.

The "Hear Music" coffeehouses will be open in 15 Starbucks stores in Seattle beginning Monday and 30 stores in Austin, Texas starting October 25. The company opened its first music bar as a test in Santa Monica, California.

In a partnership with Hewlett-Packard, Starbucks will allow customers to create personalized CD compilations and burn full-length albums from a library of 150,000 songs.

"The Hear Music media bar demonstrates another highly strategic extension of our brand as we continue moving towards our goal of transforming the way music is discovered and acquired," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks' chairman.

"Starbucks is a trusted, familiar and convenient destination for millions of people every week, and by offering compelling music services like this to our customers, we are continuing our tradition of delivering innovative products and services that enhance the overall Starbucks Experience."

Starbucks said customers will use self-service screens placed throughout the store and use a stylus pen to select music. They can create a custom CD for 8.99 dollars for the first seven songs and 99 cents for each additional song.

Starbucks operates some 8,500 retail coffeehouses worldwide.

The company said separately it intends to boost the number of US outlets to 15,000 as a long-term goal.

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