From top: Starbucks, Thomas Street, Limerick; The spat with Steamboat Music


Starbucks on Thomas Street, Limerick seeking a little of the post-pub live music pie, asked for local musicians to come in and play for the casual audience

But were they willing to pay for their slice of said pie?

Apparently not, looking as they were to “showcase their venue”.

This drew a rise from Steamboat Music, local instrument/record shop, who invited Starbuck’s to “showcase” their coffee for free in their own establishment, before telling them where to go.

A truce had subsequently been made between the two parties, with Steamboat offering to help the local Starbuck’s in their musical affairs, ahead of Steamboat’s post-HMV expansion into records, movies and graphic novels in October, until a customer of Steamboat’s came to them bearing bad tidings…

So we thought we had come to a friendly arrangement with (manager of local) Starbuck’s over his attempt to exploit musicians, but like his employer’s coffee, he’s full of… sugar.

Now they’re back to their exploiting ways, a very young, talented customer of ours was offered a gig for the sweet, sweet nothing of “EXPOSURE”, and we can’t allow that. We started this fight for musicians and by god, we’ll end it.

We’ve decided, just out of pig iron, when we open our new superstore in October, we’re putting in a cafe upstairs with the CDs, DVDs, records & comics, and we’re going to have paid gigs for musicians and free coffee on Saturdays until Christmas.

All discussion, conjecture and side-taking to be had with hashtag #StarbucksvsSteamboat.


Steamboat Music (Facebook)

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68 thoughts on “Starbusks

      1. Jammy

        Its a franchise. The franchisee pays tax on profits. The corporation to which the franchise pays its franchise fees avoids tax. The franchisee may be barely staying afloat financially, and the few quid that would get punted in would come from the franchisees profits.

        1. Mike McGrath-Bryan

          And the franchisee hasn’t got a massive advantage in brand leverage over other places? Why shouldn’t they pay the artist for the time and effort and set it against the extra business live music brings in?

          1. Jammy

            I’m not saying they should not. Just that the payment would not be coming from the rich corporation that avoids tax.

  1. Protectthe8th

    Don’t see the problem here. Starbucks are giving smaller musicians who don’t get paid gigs a platform to put themselves out there and maybe get noticed by some pub managers or maybe an upcoming wedding couple.

      1. Protectthe8th

        Consider it an internship. It’s reasonable that for a musician, where talent can vary so much that you might want to see hear the person before booking them. If you choose an ‘arts’ career you cant expect to be earning full wage from the beginning

        Also what overheards? Limerick is a small town, it’s not like you’re paying big transport cost to get there. They already own their instruments. I’m sure they get some coffee & cake on the house to, too starve away any hunger.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “If you choose an ‘arts’ career you cant expect to be earning full wage from the beginning”

          If you own a sandwich shop, why can you expect to get other people’s services for free?

          1. Protectthe8th

            Because I have real over heads like product, rent, staff. They’re allowing a platform for young artists to get themselves out there. Nobody is forcing any body to sign up.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Because I have real over heads like product, rent, staff.”

            Why should I care about your overheads?

            “They’re allowing a platform for young artists to get themselves out there.”

            He specifically asked for a band for a marketing event. He even says he’s looking to showcase his shop before all else. He wants a service to benefit his bottom line. Why does the fact he has overheads entitle him to free stuff from others?

          3. Protectthe8th

            You don’t have to care about the overheads, if you’re in a band and don’t agree, then don’t sign up. But many bands with a bit more foresight might see the gain in playing for an hour or two for free. The shop with real overheads get their publicity & the band who just need to turn up and sing, get their exposure and if they’re good enough, some future paid jobs.

            Everyone’s happy!

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “But many bands with a bit more foresight might see the gain in playing for an hour or two for free”

            No offence but that’s just delusional. No band will be doing anything for their career by playing in a Limerick sandwich shop. Also, the vast majority of bands that aren’t made up of teenagers expect to be paid. They are providing you with a service you want. You have to pay for it. Simple.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            Sure all you have to do is put a slice of ham into a bread roll. How about a couple of hundred people show up at this sandwich shop, order a sandwich and then offer to tell their friends how nice the sandwich was instead of paying money for it when they get to the till? That’s fair, right?

          6. Billy Kremlin

            What about instrument maintenance and upkeep. Also the years of hard graft and money spent on lessons.

            They’re the talented ones, you’re the idiot making the sandwiches.

          7. forfeckssake

            So your answer to “would you work for free” is “no”. You just expect others to.

            The thing is if a business Starbucks aren’t willing to pay musicians who will? Your idea of the great opportunity for a musician being a wedding gig shows you haven’t a clue and your username would back that up.

          8. MoyestWithExcitement

            “The strums of a guitar do not.”

            The guitar, the strings, the sound system, the microphone, petrol and my time do, though. So if you get my service for free, then I should get yours for free.

          9. Protectthe8th

            As I’ve said before. No band has to agree to do this, you can stay at home with all your principles and lack of gigs. Instead some bands might see this as the opportunity it is, a win win for both the coffee shop and band. They both get exposure, good day out and potential future custom. Hopefully there’s still some bands out there with foresight

          10. Protectthe8th

            Of which I’m sure the ‘artist’ will be gifted some coffee and cakes during their set for free. So yep, both people get each other’s services for free…

          11. MoyestWithExcitement

            “you can stay at home with all your principles”

            Or I could get a paid gig.

            “Instead some bands might see this as the opportunity it is”

            Most non teenagers and non idiots will realise the chances of them being seen by a talent spotter in a Limerick sandwich shop are non existant.

            If this guy wants live music for his shop, he can pay for it or go without. Very simple.

      2. RobertasYourLGBTQParentsSiblingRelative

        Who cares? We have freedom of contract in this country. If the parties agree there is a mutual benefit there is not necessarily a requirement for financial consideration.

  2. manonfire

    Yea theyr really helping the up’an coming musicians by turning them down i see your point..

    Goodbye agitator, close the door on your way out

  3. Mikeyfex

    Great shop. One of a small few businesses brightening up what should really be one of the best parts of town, but sadly isn’t.

    – Steamboat Mickeyfex

  4. manonfire

    Theyr will be very soon

    Thats why Howlins on the PR offensive

    Damage control

    Corporatocracy tax haven on the ropes

      1. manonfire

        Unknowingly you support the christian democrats

        A cartel of national socialists who hide under the umbrella of democracy

  5. well

    This is a problem everywhere now.

    Play music for our store for free expose.
    Design our signs and adverts for free exposure.
    Build our app for free exposure.
    Build our website for free exposure.

  6. Spaghetti Hoop

    Great reply there lads.

    Oh and Starbucks….if only there was a proper campaign to urge coffee-drinkers to support their local and indigenous coffee shops.

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