[Case Study] Starbucks


Industry: Restaurant

Company HQ: United States

Sharing a cup of coffee is a timeless human tradition. It’s where connections between people are formed and stories are told. Brands that have a good story to tell can make a strong connection with their customers, becoming personal and meaningful to their lives. They can inspire emotion.

For more than 40 years, Starbucks has embraced the art of storytelling to engage their partners and delight customers. Beyond coffee, music is their narrative, and how they make each location comfortable and inviting. It reminds customers why they fell in love with the brand, and continue to stay committed day after day. Starbucks works closely with the music industry, offering artists a platform for their work while collaborating with PlayNetwork to curate, localize and evolve how customers discover music.

When Starbucks wanted to enhance their music offering by developing a first-of-its-kind music experience, they selected PlayNetwork and Spotify. Using PlayNetwork’s CURIO content delivery platform, more than 12 million My Starbucks Rewards members have new ways to experience Starbucks music at more than 7,500 U.S. store locations and beyond.


Delivered through a CURIOPlayer X5, Starbucks’ music experiences feature playlists of established and emerging artists curated in collaboration with Starbucks and licensed by PlayNetwork music supervisors.


Through the consumption of PlayNetwork’s CURIO API, customers can use the Starbucks mobile app wherever they are to discover music at Starbucks locations near them, and take-away favorites in their own Spotify accounts.


PlayNetwork created a custom CURIO iOS app to help partners (Starbucks employees) see what’s playing, adjust the volume and create a playlist of store favorites.

True to their heritage, Starbucks continues to use music to connect hearts and minds in new ways, and this innovative solution enables them to extend the experience outside of stores. After all, like a great cup of coffee, stories are meant to be shared.
“For decades, music has played a pivotal role in our stores. Through our relationship with PlayNetwork, we’re able to ensure we remain at the forefront of how to integrate music into our retail environment and our mobile ecosystem.”

– Matthew Guiste, Starbucks VP, In-Store and Partner Digital Products


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