Again, people take this as a status, and it is not - it is just an activity.
Generally, people these days are in the room with music all the time. Stores have music, TV shows and movies have music. People play music to relax. All just fine.
Some people pay attention to the music, have favorite artists, follow those artists on tour around the country, etc.
The three types of people mentioned in the quote are those who pay attention to small details of the sound - how clear is the hall reverberation, is the sound of the fingers hitting the bass strings clear or dulled a little, how close does the tone of the trumpet sound to a real trumpet, etc.
Audiophiles do that by definition. No good or bad, right or wrong associated with it.
Going back to the skis example, professionals pick through as many as a dozen pairs of the same model skis, waxed slightly differently - or even just slight production variations. I know that I could not tell them apart.
So as far as "anyone who appreciates music can benefit from quality equipment" - I am trying to debunk that idea, and here is another example. There is an episode of Top Gear UK (I think about a year ago), where they try to drive professional race cars. The results are comical, despite the fact that all of them drive cards for a living (to review them). In some cases, pro equipment could be used by anyone else (baseball comes to mind), but many times not.
Of course, salesmen always promote "anyone who appreciates music can benefit from quality equipment"...
Sorry, but that's a horrible analogy. That's like saying if I skied on the highest quality ski's in the world, that my legs would explode. Or if I tried the highest quality headphones, some how they will perform worse then cheap headphones.
I will agree that if you give well trained ears 10 high end amps, they can tell you what sounds different about them and then pick the ones that best suite there needs based on there experience, and a less trained ear would not be able to do that.
However if you put 10 amps in a room, 5 very low end, and 5 very high end, and asked someone like me to pick the one that sounds the best, 9 out of 10 times we will pick from the top 5. Quality matters to everyone. Not just self professed elitist.