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HP and Starbucks serve up digital music

US only deal for time being

Tomorrow HP and Starbucks will launch an in-store service that lets the coffee shop chain's customers create customized CDs with songs chosen from a digital music library.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz and HP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina will give a joint press conference tomorrow at the Starbucks-owned Hear Music Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, California, according to a statement issued by the companies.

Representatives from the companies declined to provide details about the new service, saying they didn't want to preempt Tuesday's press conference, although it could be argued that is precisely what Schultz and Don MacKinnon, Starbucks' vice president for music and entertainment, did when they talked about the announcement at length to Business Week magazine.

The service will let Starbucks patrons call up and listen to songs on HP PCs located in the stores and order personalised CDs with songs they choose, according to the Business Week story, published Thursday on its website.

There will be about 250,000 songs to choose from, and the service will be available in about 2500 Starbucks stores in two years, the article says.

HP will also supply Starbucks with other necessary equipment for providing the service, such as CD burners and printers for the stores and backend servers, the story says.

Also on hand on Tuesday will be recording artists Sarah Harmer and Rufus Wainwright, who will perform on the Santa Monica Promenade after the press conference, according to the statement.

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