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Video: Starbucks 'Now Playing' through iTunes on the iPhone

Rich DeMuro tries out the Starbucks 'now playing' feature

While at Starbucks this morning, I noticed some signs on the tables announcing that the "Now Playing" feature was live. This lets you log onto the iTunes music store from your laptop, iPod touch or iPhone and instantly see what song is playing in-store, plus browse and buy music on iTunes.

After adding two Sugar in the Raws and some half-and-half to my Grande drip, I decided to put that iPhone in my pocket to good use. I fired up the iTunes Wi-Fi music store by clicking the little logo and voila!

If only it was that easy...unfortunately, on my very first try, I kept getting a message that I couldn't connect to the iTunes music store because you need to be using Wi-Fi. Apparently my phone was still going through the Edge network.

I went into my iPhone's settings and manually chose the "tmobile" SSID from a list of about two dozen random hotspots (this is New York City) and there it was. A little green Starbucks logo wedged itself into my iTunes store dock, and instantly informed me of the song playing at that very moment inside the 'bucks. I could also purchase the tune for 99 cents, or choose from a list of songs recently played at that location.

The idea here is great--and the implementation is pretty cool, even considering my slight hiccup of manually having to choose the hotspot. There is no T-Mobile login necessary, and although free surfing is limited to the iTunes store, it's still a pretty neat way to discover new music--and better yet--another excuse to use your iPhone, even if it is still early in the morning.