Starbucks did not pay Apple Computer to get some prime real estate on the iTunes Music Store.
The two companies announced today that artists from Starbucks' Hear Music catalog will be featured in a special "Starbucks Entertainment" area within the iTunes store.
There was no mention of any collaboration between the two companies when it comes to Starbucks' in-store experience. Starbucks spent two years testing the feasibility of CD-burning kiosks in 45 stores in Seattle and Austin, Texas, only to pull out of most locations in May.
Perhaps today's announcement is a step toward having iTunes-enabled kiosks in stores for people who want to plug in their iPods. The big problem with that scenario would be giving the iPods permission to transfer the music back from the device to a user's home PC -- something Apple has been reluctant to do in the past.
Brier Dudley's take on the announcement is here.
Update: A Starbucks representative called to say that the company did not in fact pay Apple for the iTunes placement. But the company would not elaborate further on what kind of deal took place.