The Starbucks Pick of the Week program — you know, those little wallet-sized cards sitting next to the coffee-counter CDs for folks who still like to collect plastic — never did much for me.
Downloading a single tune on speculation was never my thing. It was the antithesis of buying a 45-rpm single all those years ago. Back then, you knew you were getting a certified hit, one that was played endlessly on the radio until you drove robotically to the record store to buy it.
By contrast, a downloadable single from an unknown artist was just a street hustle come-on — Starbucks and iTunes would give me something for free and I’d (maybe) buy a full album by the same artist in return. Have I ever told you how many times I’ve been burned by buying a lame album based on one cool song?
The last one I bought on spec was Cee-Lo Green’s “The Lady Killer.” It made me want to sing Cee-Lo’s hit tune back to him.
But starting today, Starbucks is expanding its Pick of the Week program, and I already feel like I’m turning into a sucker. The program will still offer free songs to download on some weeks, but on other weeks, it will offer freebies like Apple-based apps, extended samples of books and TV shows. Up today at Starbucks: a free copy of Shazam Encore, the music identification app. It usually runs you $5.99 on iTunes.
I love these kind of apps. Here’s how Shazam Encore is described in a Starbucks release:
[T]he Shazam Encore App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad can instantly identify any song you’re listening to and give you tour info, recommendations, social sharing through Facebook and Twitter and more – including lyrics in time with the music through the new feature, LyricPlay – in a great, ad-free environment. Normally a paid app, the Shazam Encore App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad will be available for free for customers who pick up a Pick of the Week card in store.
Next Tuesday, the Pick of the Week will give you a free copy of SPY mouse, described as an “addictive game of danger, intrigue, stealth and cheese developed by the makers of Flight Control.” Okay, not so much.
But I still have a feeling that my smartphone is going to get crowded soon.