KIRO Radio's Josh Kerns talks local music
Seattle Sounds

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 free.

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 post.

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

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