Friday, July 6, 2018

Best Buy and CDs: The End of an Era

If you are a frequent customer of Best Buy, you may have noticed a major change of recent. If you have not noticed, you soon will. A few months ago the powers that be at Best Buy corporate office decided to stop selling music CDs by July 2018. The reason is quite obvious — sales of music CDs have continued to drop over the years, making way for paid downloads through various platforms such as Amazon and iTunes. 

Best Buy operates in the same manner as most retail chains — the store shelves are valued real estate. Take the cost of operating expenses, divided by the total feet of shelf space in the store, and a dollar value is equated to every square foot of shelf space. If other merchandise such as tee shirts and action figures sell better than CDs, the retail value of compact discs diminishes. 

They say you either change with the times or the times change you. While a large percentage of customers have not progressed to the digital audio file format, retail sales are the driving element for the evolution of music formats. Long gone are 8-track and 45s, and compact discs are diminishing in the war between CDs and digital downloads. Granted, YouTube has been the major pirate source for illegal listening for more than a decade that the music industry has yet to crack down hard enough, providing access (and free digital downloads) for those who take a few minutes to learn how to click a button and listen. 

All of this does not mean you have to rush out and buy your favorite bands and singers before the CDs become obsolete, but when you visit flea markets and fan gatherings and the price is right, you may want to consider making a purchase. Once you own the CD, you own the recording for life and CDs are still the true on-demand. As music is digital on CDs, you can always convert to a new platform later such as an iPad or hard drive.

Many of the new cars sold on the market today do not include a CD player, instead focusing on Bluetooth connections for digital playlists on smartphones. Best Buy will continue to sell gift cards with serial numbers that grant you downloads of music purchased in the store, but one questions how long those will be continued as anyone can do the same with their smart phone from the convenience of sitting on their sofa. 

Best Buy is only the first major chain to make the decision to pull the plug on CDs. Other retail outlets will eventually follow, the trend will soon become the norm, and the studios and production companies that lose income as a result of a major drop in sales will eventually consider whether it is worth continued production of compact discs. As for myself, I am proud to have a collection of my favorites sitting on the shelf, which will continue to grow in the coming months, in preparation for what might be a sign of the music industry apocalypse. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Never really went to Best Buy for music CDs anyway, there's always catalogs and websites for the type of music I'm into on CD. Some of the releases are unofficial but where else can I go to get something I really am interested in! No kudos to the auto industry too for no longer offering CD and/or cassette players in cars(my 2003 Toyota Camry has one at least), to heck with this Bluetooth garbage and such in modern autos!! Oh well...

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