Best Buy delays the inevitable as audiophiles refuse to say goodbye to CDs

CDs die a slower death than anticipated as traditionalists keep the $1B US industry alive… for now.


July 31, 2018

Now that streaming services all but own music consumption (it made up 65% of the music industry’s revenue last year), companies like Best Buy are trying to figure out their best exit strategy in their emancipation from the compact disc.

While vinyl records have made their way back around as ‘retro,’ CDs are caught in an odd limbo: not old enough to be considered cool again, yet too old to keep their value.

Until they stand to disappear…

Back in February, Best Buy announced their decision to cut the music in its CD section completely by July 1. 

It was hard blame them: In 2008 CDs made up half of the total music market. Now they share (with vinyl) 17% of the physical music market.

But social media rules all, and after many complaints from audiophiles to keep their beloved CDs in stock, Best Buy announced it would spare its CD section but resize it to fit reduced demand…

That is, until reduced demand turns to no demand.

‘On the contrary!’ said the independent music store owner

Yes, CDs have gone down in flames compared to their liquid steel run in the early aughts (nearly 712m CD albums sold in 2001) but their sales are still nothing to throw a cassette at.

In 2017, 85.4m still left the shelves, and as retail analyst Neil Saunders reports, CDs are still a billion-dollar industry in the US.

According to The Star Tribune, CD sales reportedly still account for more than half the revenue of famed Minneapolis record store, The Electric Fetus — who hopes to benefit as big-box retailers downsize their CD collections. 

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