Tom Petty Bashes EDM: 'Watch People Play Records? That's Stupid'

Singer is grateful for vinyl revival.

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Tom Petty has hit out at EDM, claiming that the genre is nothing without drugs.

"Watch people play records?" he says in an interview with USA Today. "That's stupid. You couldn't pay me to go. I'm not oversimplifying it. That's what's going on. I don't think it would be any fun without the drugs. It's a drug party."

The singer also spoke of his dislike of MP3s and his approval of the resurgence of vinyl:

"I hate MP3s," he says. "You hear exactly 5% of the record I made. And I don't think most people know the difference. They're being shortchanged. The CD is not as good as it can be, but it's 100 times better than an MP3. The good thing is vinyl is coming back."

Asked about Neil Young's proposed high res music service, Pono, Petty had the following to say:

"Neil took me for a ride in his car and played it for me," Petty says. "It's stunning. It's up to the quality of what we hear in the studio. Once that's available, the battle's over. It's like 240 times the resolution."

33 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The thing is Apple is to blame for the propagation of MP3s with the iPod. Hi-Res audio was about to become mainstream and then Apple brought low-fi to the masses and for the past decade mainstream audio fidelity has suffered. Then Apple bought that AWFUL overpriced crappy headphone company Beats, continuing their assault on sound quality. Quite ironic since Macs are the preferred choice for music production.
    Generally when I go to any kind of music gig I go for music. As a fan of a range of genres such as metal through to dubstep how those songs are produced & played doesn't matter to me, I like the music.
    I saw Disclosure at a festival and they were definitely doing more than pressing play on a record. Same with many other electronic artists. Even for onces that are less "live", it's still fun. mp3 is ok at higher bitrates. I'd love to just use FLAC but it's less compatible and would take more drive space.
    drugs are a huge part of tom pettys music too. "last dance with mary jane" anyone? good music is good music, no matter how its created.
    If I go out somewhere, I go for the music. Different genres have their different quirks. Mind you, it's not always about "playing records", it depends on the artist and what kind of night/show it is. Plus, I honestly prefer EBM/Industrial to EDM, but that's my personal taste.
    It is a drug party. Completely agree. Been to many a festival where I can honestly say that if I didn't take drugs I wouldn't have enjoyed them whatsoever. Doesn't mean it isn't fun though. Going to another festival in a couple of weeks and I haven't heard of ANYONE there (Howard MArks aside - doing a talk). Bound to be an absolute belter of a weekend though.
    ahhhhh. i cant wait till tom petty comes to my town.... and cleanse Houston of the poor excuses for music like beyonce and drake.
    Every genre has it's place. Other artists mime to their tracks or play to backing tracks. How is that any different? Hate these dinosaurs and purists with their uneducated opinions. Edit: can anyone really tell the difference between a 320kbs mp3 and a flac? Probably not.
    If you have any decent sound setup it is very easy to tell the difference.
    Only if you EQed or did some kinds of processing on the mp3 would you tell the difference, because it wouldn't process the lost data so well causing bad results. Otherwise, you couldn't really tell
    Thank you. Get tired of deaf people treating those of us who CAN hear the difference as elitist snobs.
    Maybe if you didn't act like such an elitist snob, it wouldn't happen.
    Truth hurts, unfortunately theres more dumb people than those who know what they are talking about, in any situation.
    Through headphones? Nah, not worth the file space if that's what you're wondering. 128 kbps is just fine in fact. Speakers? Couldn't tell you.
    Your hearing must be pretty bad.
    My hearing's fine. Maybe I'm just not as concerned as some people are and thus don't really pay attention. That, and sticking with mp3s (anything from 128 kbps to 320 kbps) works wonders for iPod space. I guess as long as I can hear music clearly enough to tell the instruments apart I'm pretty satisfied, though that's probably more to do with the mix of the music itself or speaker/headphone quality rather than mp3 file quality.
    I'd say, in fact, not fine. Especially with headphones on. Nothing beats a lossless format through a top notch sound system or headphones.
    It pisses me off when artists complain about what way people listen to music. MP3s are cheaper than vinyl and can be stored on a portable device. This is why they are more popular. Most people don't give two shits about the sound quality between the two formats. You're never going to hear it like it sounded in the studio anyway, unless you were there. Just be happy that people are listening to your music. This 'high-res' service will cost far more than MP3s. Music is pretty much free now anyway and that's how it will be from now on.
    Agreed, and I'm sure something similar happens with each generation, they just didnt have the internet to complain on. I guarantee when recorded music was first sold, older people complained that it was being ruined and that music should only ever be heard live.
    Mikethespud- Really music will be free from now on? Excuse me, but how the hell do you think new music will have a future, if it is to be enjoyed free of charge from now own? Even if music is created somewhat differently in the future from the way it has been for thousands of years- real people with creative talent, practicing & working their craft for years & producing a product & a pleasureable experience for the listener. There will always be cost involved for those producing the music, and if they can not re-cup the cost, or make a living from it, whether they are a DJ,or in a band, or it's created by protools & computors & synthesizers, it all costs these folks MONEY! If music is to become free, creativity will suffer,and those in the music world will have find other avenues to make a living. If food becomes free, what happens to farmers that currently grow it? If beautiful works of art created & painted by talented artists become free to the mass market, what happens to the artist & their ability to continue to paint? Should they do it for free? Get the point, free music will eventually destroy the creative artist & therefore the future of all music will suffer tremendously!
    You can't really blame the guy for making ignorant comments regarding the price of music. He's part of a generation, which has never had to pay a dime for entertainment. To him, entertainment should always be free, because thanks to the internet, if some prick chooses to charge you 10 bucks, you can just go do something else. After all, music is recorded with farts and rainbow dust and requires no effort, time, or creativity at all, so why should we pay for it, right?
    EDM = Electronic Dance Music. You don't watch someone play records, you dance. What is stupid about dancing?
    Electronic dance music isn't always just about 'pressing play' like a lot of people who want to bash it say. Live synths/keyboards are always cool and live sequencing is damn difficult, but the metal scene shrugs it off most of the time. He is right that a lot of the scene (from a UK perspective anyway) is fuelled by the drugs on offer, but there is some great EDM stuff going on regardless. On your note about dancing though I have always thought dancing is a bit strange - like if aliens were looking down on people boogying away in a nightclub it must look very odd.
    Isn't learning how to play live EDM music a lot like, you know, learning an instrument and playing live music? Is that so "damn difficult" that essentially no artist can or bothers to do so? When you go see a live EDM show, you're either seeing a musician in that booth showcasing their skills (a performance that can be said to be an intrinsically worthwhile experience on its own), or a composer hitting the play button, something you could do in your living room. So, what does a club have that your living room doesn't? Do you need a hint?
    EDM can be fun live on occasion. A few years ago, I saw Skrillex (I know, I cringe looking back at it too) at a primarily rock festival, and because of that, the crowd was responding like it was practically a metal set. It turned out being one of the most fun shows I'd been to in a while. After that, I went to an actual rave, thinking I would enjoy it, but I was was bored to tears.
    320kbps MP3's sounds absolutely fine. Any perceived quality improvement from 320 to FLAC on a typical everyman's headphones is a placebo. 128kbps or lower does sound like utter, utter arse though.
    on "everymans headphones" you may be correct, but if you have a nice stereo system at home you should be able to hear the difference.