Starbucks Gossip had a post last week asking why the music was suddenly louder at Starbucks. The writer had noticed a trend where music was so loud he couldn’t even think. His theory being it was a move to distract and drive away laptop users. Critics said it was just that he was closer to the speakers than usual, or that the audio was louder on that particular day (the barista’s can adjust the volume). I have a different theory. They just started playing live music from XM Radio — their own Hear Music channel in fact — some good stuff. Ok, so my theory is that because the barista’s don’t have to listen to the SAME music day and night anymore (it’s actually chosen by a DJ now, not just a CD that plays over and over again) they have an interest in the music and thus they play it louder. I know from friends who used to work at Starbucks that the music dragged on and on in endless loops. So this must be a nice variation.