I actually netted about 50 cents today during a stop at Starbucks — that’s if you total the two 99-cent ‘song of the day” freebies I left with and subtract a tall cup of java (the kind you drink, not the kind you can’t use on an iPhone). Of course, that also assumes I was planning to buy KT Tunstall’s One Day and Bob Dylan’s Jokerman. The two are part of the grand Starbucks-iTunes 50-million song giveaway designed to draw attention to the songselling-WiFi partnership announced last month. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhones and Touch iPods have software that enables direct-to-device downloading; others can use iTunes from WiFi-capable notebook computers.
But most people getting the songs aren’t anywhere near the stores in New York or Seattle where WiFi downloading is first being introduced. Instead, what’s really being promoted here in St. Louis and most other Starbucks is the chance to pay for an album at Starbucks and then download it, instead of the usual process of buying a CD and ripping it to create a digital version. My local store already had a couple of CD-sized album certificates to sell; if I really wanted, I could buy one, then download using my T-Mobile WiFi account.
Starbucks Entertainment president Ken Lombard told the NYT it’s all about instant gratification: “You