Record Store Owner Calls People Who Pay To Download 'Idiots'

from the well,-that-might-be-a-bit-much dept

You would think that record store owners might be the folks most upset about the changing music landscape these days. And, indeed, we’ve seen the “big players” like Tower Records and Warehouse Music go out of business. However, many smaller independent record shops have figured out ways to take advantage of the changing landscape to offer something different to customers. In fact, some even say the real problem was the RIAA and its failure to embrace things like file sharing. Still, it’s a bit surprising to hear the owner of one NYC indie record shop, Rockit Scientist Records, slam those who buy music legally:

“Anybody who legally downloads music is an idiot! You can get it for free, why pay for it? Download it illegally, who’s going to catch you? Legal or illegal, they sound the same.”

While the conventional wisdom of those who insist that file sharing is “theft” would also suggest that this would mean trouble for the record store owner too — but he seems to recognize that there’s still plenty of value in the physical product: the CD or vinyl for those who want it. He figures if people are going to buy music, they might as well get something tangible out of it — and the real problem (again) is that the record labels artificially inflated the price of CDs. If they’d kept CD prices more reasonable, perhaps things wouldn’t be as bad as they are for the CD market.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: rockit scientist records

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Record Store Owner Calls People Who Pay To Download 'Idiots'”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Remember when BestBuy closed all the MusicLand stores?

What an animal… Or do they understand the marketplace better than anyone else?

So I reccomend sharing your displeasure with Bestbuy, who has found it more profitable to reallocate media space to sell Dyson Vacuums and Toastmaster Wafflemakers.

In fact, for a laugh, here’s a number for you:
(612) 291-1000

Ask for Hillary Rosen. She’s the one who started this mess.

Getting your Facts Straight says:

Re: Tell the real Story . . .

Uh, Best Buy bought Musicland stores mainly for their supply chain. Having worked at one of the main distribution centers for ML I can tell you first hand they were top notch. Best Buy needed that at the time.

Musicland was a dying breed anyways. . . Their sales were dead before Best Buy bought them. No one in their right mind purchases or purchased a CD in the mall at a boutique style store for $17.99 when they can go down the street and buy it for $9.99. Best Buy did make an honest effort to get Musicland out of the body bag unfortunately even they cannot revive something that had been dead 5 years before they bought it out.

Best Buy sold the Musicland stores to an investment firm who then closed them after trying to get them back off the ground themselves. . . . actually it was more like getting them out of the ground. . .

Please get your facts straight.

Getting your Facts Straight says:

Re: Tell the Real Story

. . . . I also don’t think it’s funny that you use this story to Best Buy Bash. . . I also don’t see how Best Buy selling Vacuums (which are more profitable than your average CD) has anything to do with selling music.

99% of the stores have never given up media space for appliances, maybe Cell Phones or Digital Cameras, but vacuums?! That 1% that did probably had no appliance presence to begin with.

Best Buy probably figured out that giving up that small amount of space for a lack luster appliance display was more profitable than trying to use the space to stock catalog CD titles that they have had on the shelf for 9 months waiting for you to go through your mid-life crisis and purchase 1-2 CDs so you can relive your lame youth.

Yay for Best Buy in making smart business decisions!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Tell the Real Story

Who is Best Buy Bashing? Holy cow! You are reading this with a negative attitude. Tell you what. Get up, go for a walk and re-read it. I think you’ll find that Best Buy is in an amazing position to grow the business.

Additionally, it’s quite possible that you don’t understand what’s being discussed at a higher level.

99% of the stores have never given up media space for appliances, maybe Cell Phones or Digital Cameras, but vacuums?! That 1% that did probably had no appliance presence to begin with.

It may be coming… or quite possibly not. Who knows..?

Do you know the numbers of that 1% of stores that tried the new concept? Doubtful.

If you do.. Let’s continue with this conversation.

Anonymous Coward says:

I, for one, still vastly prefer CDs. Honestly, if the best they can do is anything worse a bitrate of 320 for any given file format, I’m not even considering it. Beatport, however, delivers in the download scene, at least for those of us who listen to the music that requires the highest qualities possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

BeatPort is an interesting model.

I met with the owner of the company back in 2004 when trying to negotiate a win-win vendor relationship for a specific customer segment of the company I was working with at the time. (I was also working on similar deals with Chipotle, and other vendors, leveraging some sort of “Free” business model thing.)

The thing I remember most was when the owner laughed at me when I mentioned upcoming success of (recently released) iTunes. Heh.

Of course, Today, Beatport focuses on appealing to the bleeding-edge crowd.

Today, Beatport has done extremely well. What’s interesting with the DJ and remix crowd is that they are generally VERY OPEN about their music. They want their music and remixes played so when they come to town people know them. This is why you can buy 320Kbps MP3s without DRM from Beatport.

So should you be stuck in Colorado for the DNC or any other reason, look up the club scene. In many aspects, it’s better than what you’d see elsewhere. Tiesto and Vandyk have passed on Los Angeles to play in Denver. Why? I dunno. Maybe we take care of people…?


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“for those of us who listen to the music that requires the highest qualities possible”
…love yourself much?

There is a segment of the audio market that demands top nothc recordings, something most DL’s do not offer.

I suggest you go look up stereophonic, hi-fidlity to find yourself a local hi-fi shop to give you a demo of what music can sound like.

Don’t be shocked when you see speaker price tags of 4k and CD players with price tags of 7k and on and on. These systems CRAVE good recordings because when you play a crappy one on them they reveal the crap too.

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:


“I don’t care if I get called an idiot if what I buy from them is good and well priced.”
The most a whole album should cost on as a download should be 1 USD and that is plenty because there is no middle man if you put upload your album to a torrent site like’s distribution service they will host it free. Music used to be an art now it is considered a product to be packaged shipped and consumed like it was a worthless commodity. Most of the famous painters and pianists you can read about in books died drunken penniless vagrants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: lulz

I submit that most famous painters and pianists you can read about died drunken, penniless vagrants because either:

(1) in their day they were unknown, despite their obvious talent, because there was no good way to get themselves exposed to wide audience.

(2) in their day they were unknown, despite their obvious talent, because there was no real market for what is clearly a luxury; when you’re an uneducated laborer trying to buy food for your family, who cares about some paint on fabric?

(3) they led lives which tended to leave them drunk, penniless vagrants, regardless of talents, fame, or success.

As a note, though, I’m not sure where you’re headed with your argument, first saying that music used to be art but now it’s a packaged commodity, and then saying this most famous artists died poor. Do you imagine those artists didn’t try to earn a living on their art? Do you think it’s better to die a drunk, penniless vagrant?

Michael Long (user link) says:


While many “old school” labels may pay their artists pennies on the dollar, many modern and independent labels have revenue sharing agreements that are much fairer to the artist. As such, I still believe in paying artists for their work, even for downloads.

The only time I consider myself to be an idiot is when I think about all of the free riders I’m supporting as well….

mark palmos says:


This is what I do:

1/ Steal (download) about 15 albums a month
2/ Listen to them all and then
3/ Buy two of the best of those albums a month ON CD!

I have 1200 cd’s and about 700 vinyl albums, and will support the artists I love most by buying something physical, tangible, collectable…


PaulT (profile) says:

“Anybody who legally downloads music is an idiot! You can get it for free, why pay for it? Download it illegally, who’s going to catch you? Legal or illegal, they sound the same.”

“Anybody who buys CDs from a store is an idiot! You can get it for free, why pay for it? Steal it from the store illegally, who’s going to catch you? Legal or illegal, they sound the same.”

If you download 320Kbps or FLAC illegally, They also sound the same as the legally bought CD. Does this guy want to advocate stealing the CD or downloading instead of buying CDs? Probably not.

Sounds to me like he’s just another audiophile (“who wants to listen to 192Kbps MP3? It sucks compared to the sound of a CD/vinyl through my $20,000 stereo!”) who’s completely missing the point. Most people don’t care enough about the difference in quality between a physical format and an iTunes download to bother with the former. If so-called piracy actually affects record sales (and I’m still unconvinced that it does), then this guy’s business is firmly in the line of fire. You’d think he’d be a little more canny about what he says to destroy it.

Stuart Banks (user link) says:

you're fucking kidding me, right??

Music is music regardless of what medium and it is on. The fact that stealing music is being encouraged by a record store owner is dumb and wrong elevated to a new degree of stupidity. Even to get a point across.
Quality sacrificed for convenience and speed is what has happened. And it seems very few seem to think outside the box because we’ve been locked into a very small number of ways listening/purchasing by a few controlling monopolies. Lateral thinking and flexible business plans to meet the challenges of today are what’s really needed.
About CD costs: everyone it seems to me has completely missed that while CD manufacturing costs have gone down to remain competitive, the information age in which live and the many new ways we have to get music and info out, and the increased demand to have and know more, have actually seen a grow in demand for promotion and the industry spawned thereof. People who complain about CD Prices need to take on board how much marketing, shipping and distribution cost.
These costs have actually risen in real terms.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...