Starbucks Coffee Company, through its Hear Music brand, has launched a music delivery experience that makes it easier for customers to discover, acquire, and enjoy music.

The Company’s new retail digital music service, enabled by HP technologies, becomes real with today’s grand opening of the Hear Music Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, California. Shortly thereafter, Starbucks intends to begin deploying the Hear Music CD burning service to select Starbucks stores, offering customers the ability to burn full-length albums and personalized compilations from a comprehensive digital library.

“Starbucks built its brand through innovation in products and services that preserve and enhance the trust our customers have in the Starbucks Experience,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, said in a statement. “Innovations like our exclusive music compilations, the Starbucks Card and placing Wi-Fi access in Starbucks stores have transformed the way that millions of our customers enjoy their coffeehouse experience. As a result, Starbucks is well-positioned to deliver this unparalleled music service.”

The Hear Music Coffeehouse, which Starbucks calls “a first-of-its-kind record store,” welcomes customers to a comfortable coffeehouse environment that gives them a hands-on guide to music discovery using 70 HP Tablet PCs and other breakthrough innovations from HP to access, personalize, and enjoy digital music in new ways. The Hear Music listening bar is staffed with “music experts” who can suggest new artists and guide customers to new genres, while burning a personalized CD. In addition, customers can explore themed recommendations throughout the store at listening stations featuring music, video and other exclusive content.

One of the editorial formats customers can explore is Hear Music’s series of Artist’s Choice CD interviews. Dating back to 1990, artists ranging from Sheryl Crow and Yo-Yo Ma to Johnny Cash and the Rolling Stones have provided an inside look into their personal record collections. These artists’ insights are a cornerstone of the in-store customer experience.

“Hear Music is committed to bringing music into people’s lives by helping them discover great music from emerging artists, as well as those artists outside of the mainstream,” said Don MacKinnon, vice president, Starbucks Music and Entertainment. “With today’s launch of the Hear Music Coffeehouse and our plan to bring this service to Starbucks, we believe we can make it easier for consumers to find music they love, as well as create a platform for artists to be discovered.”

Beginning this spring, Starbucks intends to extend the CD burning service to 10 select Starbucks stores in Seattle with HP technologies. Customers at these stores will find enhanced listening stations with exclusive Hear Music editorial and more than 20,000 full-length albums and hundreds of thousands of songs available to burn on CDs.

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