Why record renting wasn't a hit with the record-making industry

While a rent-a-record business may have been proving to be a hit years ago, the recording industry saw it as a problem that was spinning out of control.
In 1981, a Toronto record store began renting records, in addition to selling them. 2:08
While a rent-a-record business may have been proving to be a hit years ago, the recording industry saw it as a problem that was spinning out of control.

In early 1981, a Toronto record store was renting out its vinyl to customers — and that was not a popular move with the people who put out those records, due to concerns about piracy.

Record store owner David Nancoff was confident that his rent-a-record service was entirely legal. (The National/CBC Archives)

David Nancoff, the man renting out the records, told CBC News that there was little the recording industry could do about his business.

"I'm not doing anything illegal. I have the right to sell or lease records and what people do with them is up to them," he said.

Nancoff also said he was getting numerous inquiries from other parts of Canada and other countries about how his business worked.

"It's been absolutely overwhelming," said Nancoff.

The Canadian recording industry was making inquiries of its own — as to how it might respond to what Nancoff was doing.

According to what John Grier reported on The National, the industry estimated it had lost $40 million in the previous year due to people making unauthorized tape recordings of records.