The Impending Death of the Compact Disc

Are CDs a dying medium? Best Buy and Target seem to think so. According to Billboard, Best Buy told suppliers that it will stop selling CDs on July 1, 2018. Best Buy was once the top music seller in the United States; however, with new technology appearing, CD sales have decreased drastically. CD sales now generate about $40 million per year. Major cars manufacturers like, Honda, Tesla and Toyota have dealt away with including the CD player, in newer cars. The disappearance of the once industry standard is dying similar to the cassette tape’s disappearance. With online streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, and an interest in vinyl records, there may not be enough room for the compact-disc. The paid subscription of Spotify users has increased by appealing to students with promotions like the 99 cents a month for premium and then paying $5 for the months after. The total number of albums on the compact-disc format in 2000 numbered at 730 million copies, compared to 223.5 million in 2011. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates, “112 million users of paid streaming subscriptions driving streaming revenue growth of 60.4 percent.” Spotify has 70 million paying subscribers worldwide, increasing by 40 million subscriptions from March 2016 to January 2018. Target may follow Best Buy’s plan of not selling CDs. However, Target says it will only sell music CDs under a consignment basis. This means the companies would only get paid if the CD gets sold in the stores instead of Target shipping the CDs back to the label for credit. The amount of CDs in stores like Best Buy and Target have diminished to a more limited collection. With fewer genres and artists available in recent years, the compact-disc was on the way out. Target once had 800 titles of music and now there is a measly 100. New Paltz record stores do not think major retailers abandoning CD sales will affect their business of selling music. The nearest Best Buy is in Kingston, so shops in town remain largely unfazed. Recent trends show people are buying CDs less than vinyl locally. The popularity of vinyl brings people in to shops in New Paltz’s record stores: Jack’s Rhythms and Rhino Records. The percentage of CD sales in Rhino Records has been decreasing. Tom Whalen, manger of Rhino Records has worked there since 2002 and remembers when people would line up for the release of new CDs. Nowadays, people can find used CDs at yard sales and in dollar bins. “It doesn’t surprise me because the CD is an awkward step between vinyl and MP3. The retail price on CDs are high,” Whalen said. John Lefsky, owner of Jack’s Rhythms prices used CDs at a low price. Both Rhino and Jack’s sell second hand CDs, but vinyl is their highest seller. Lefsky prices used CDs for around $5 each. Cassettes and vinyl may have fallen out of the dominant medium of music; however, you can still find them at local record stores, other shops and through online ordering. CDs could follow the same pattern.