Starbucks serves up in-store digital music service

Starbucks will begin rolling out its in-store CD burning service in its US outlets next week.

Starbucks will begin rolling out its in-store CD burning service in its US outlets next week.

The company will install its Hear Music media bars at 45 of coffee houses in Seattle and Austin by the end of November

The Hear Music media bars will feature the necessary hardware and software, provided by Hewlett-Packard, for customers to search Starbucks' digital song library, choose and listen to tracks and burn them to a CD. CDs whose song lists are compiled by customers will cost $8.99 (£4.99) for the first seven tracks and $0.99 per additional track.

Customers will also be able to purchase full-length albums at prices that are similar to what conventional retail outlets charge. They will be able to burn these albums off the digital song library or buy them in the standard shrink-wrapped format if they are in stock at the store.

Starbucks implemented the first Hear Music media bar in March in a Santa Monica coffee house.

Its library has some 150,000 songs. The HP equipment powering the media bars includes tablet PCs, workstations, printers and networking wares. Customers operate the service via touch-screen-equipped tablet PCs and headphones.

Specifically, each Starbucks location will have several  HP Tablet PC TC1100s with headphones and without keyboards: customers will use a stylus to interact with the machines' user interface via a touch-screen monitor. The PCs will feature a core custom-made application which will let the user search for music, listen to tracks and burn CDs.

Meanwhile, the media bars will also have an HP xw4100 workstation for the actual creation and burning of the CDs, while the printing of CD art is done on an HP Business Inkjet 9670 Printer. HP's services unit developed the system's custom software on a Microsoft platform.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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