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Starbucks to serve music from Spotify, let you DJ

Pick your drink, pick your size, pick your flavor, pick your song? Starbucks is teaming up with Spotify to create interactive streaming playlists for its 7,000 U.S. stores.

Long known for selling albums played in its coffee shops, the company stopped selling CDs in March. In a new partnership deal with Spotify starting this fall, Starbucks will use the streaming music service to provide the tunes you sip to -- and both baristas and customers will get to play DJ.

Most of the power will be in the hands of the baristas, all 150,000 of whom will get a free Premium Spotify account in order to "help craft the music programming" in stores, Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman told CBS News. Employees will not get full free reign to put on whatever music suits their fancy, but will choose from a library of "brand-appropriate" songs compiled by the same team that has always been in charge of the Starbucks soundtrack.

"The customers will be able to do the same thing, from our app and the Spotify app, by doing such things as voting on favorites and suggestion songs, things of that sort," Brotman explained, adding that the details are being designed as we speak.

The playlists they help create will be available on Spotify via the Starbucks mobile app, and frequent drinkers will also be able to tap into what's playing in their favorite store from afar.

This new pairing will provide a shot of promotion for Spotify's paid music streaming service in stores, on mobile, and by letting members of Starbucks' loyalty rewards program earn extra points toward free coffee by signing up for a $10-a-month Spotify subscription.

"It's getting more word out about these new streaming service that are paid ... because so many of us are going for the free ones," CNET's Bridget Carey pointed out.

The Recording Industry Association of America reported in March that while streaming now accounts for a solid 27 percent of music industry revenues, free subscriptions are growing faster than paid ones.

Carey pointed out a potentially interesting wrinkle in Starbucks helping to promote Spotify's paid service: "Starbucks has always had this partnership with Apple, but now Starbucks is partnering with an enemy of Apple, because Apple is going to be making their own music streaming service while Starbucks is pushing Spotify."

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com