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Music fans outraged over Seattle Weekly Starbucks selection

Starbucks cup on table AP Seth PerlmanWhenever Seattle Weekly puts
out its Best of Seattle edition (featuring
KIRO’s own Rachel Belle on the cover), there are always at
least a few complaints about the picks. But my co-host
Chris Kornelis, the music editor over at the newspaper,
continues to come under fierce fire for naming Starbucks
the city’s “Best CD/Record Store.”

“Hey, why the hell not! They stock all the records you
love. They’ve got the Fleet Foxes, the Spoon, the Fiona
Apple, and the Jack White. And in some communities,
they’re the only alternative to the big boxes for physical
music,” Chris wrote.

Among the printable comments ripping Chris:

“You should be embarrassed that you even thought this
was acceptable. This proves what a joke your paper is.”

“You truly should be ashamed of yourself.”

“This is a joke right?”

I just dragged Chris out of bed after a long night at
the Best of Seattle party to see if he wanted to soften
his Starbucks stance. But he remains unapologetic.

“I don’t feel bad about it at all,” he tells me.

“We’ve (Seattle Weekly) given more love and attention
to the local guys than anybody else and will continue to.
But I thought it was time to throw Starbucks a bone for
they way they’ve promoted new music.”

Just as many accuse Starbucks of killing local coffee
shops, there’s plenty of criticism Chris’ pick is another
nail in the coffin of independent music stores.

“You truly should be ashamed of yourself. This is an
insult to Sonic Boom, Silver Platters, Easy Street, and
the many, many other terrific indie retailers who are
trying to keep afloat and serve the remaining customers
who believe that good music deserves to be paid for,”
writes another commenter.

But Chris argues the anger is badly misdirected.

“If you think me picking Starbucks is hurting local
retailers you’re crazy,” he says. He points instead to
all the people who won’t pay for music and download it for

For some reason, he’s actually surprised at the
outrage. “I’ve written a lot about the damage piracy has
done to musicians, retailers, and the industry that
supports music. But I can’t remember a single comment that
said people who take music without paying for it “should
be ashamed of themselves.” Why is that,” he writes in a followup

Like many, I’m calling a bit of BS on that one. It’s
apples and oranges because while Starbucks does stock a
few good selections from classics to contemporary, it can
hardly be considered a record store. And even though he
also picked Silver Platters and Easy Street in a couple of
other categories (best used-CD store and best place to buy
vinyl, respectively), it’s still a pretty big affront to
the local guys who could use all the help they can get.

But maybe the backlash will do just that. Perhaps they
should be thanking Chris for his Starbucks selection.
Either way, I’ll be holding his feet to
the fire when we discuss it and the rest of the Best of
Seattle this week on Seattle Sounds, Saturday at 7 p.m.
and Sunday at 3 p.m. on 97.3 KIRO FM

Seattle Weekly calls Rachel
Belle, Brock Huard ‘Best Of’ local radio


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