Timothy Jones

It’s as much a part of the sound of Starbucks as conversations and coffee orders: ever-present background music. There was a time when we only played one set of classical songs every few hours, every day, for a month. Then Timothy Jones came along.

Timothy owned a Seattle record store and was known for his musical recommendations. When the time came for a career change, he walked across the street to Starbucks—to seek a job at the store he’d been frequenting as a customer.

He joined our team in 1987, eventually managing the store across from his old shop. Without asking for permission, he started adding some twists to the mix tape we always played—Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis. Customers noticed, and asked if they could buy the musical collection they heard.

When the people spoke, we listened, forging an enduring relationship between Starbucks and the music industry. Dubbed “one of the quiet shapers of American culture” by The New York Times, Timothy retired in 2014.

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