Reno Best Buy Phases Out CDs, But Vinyl is Alive and Well
The music CD is getting harder to find. The once commonplace digital music format is getting hammered in the U.S. One big local store won't be selling them anymore…
In the beginning, there was the record. Then when the compact disc arrived in the 1980's, many forecast the LP's demise. It never quite happened…there is still a vigorous market for vinyl even in this era of streamed downloads.
But will the music CD survive too? Apparently not as well, and it's getting harder to find. The once commonplace digital music format is getting hammered in the U.S. Industry data shows CD sales slumped 18 ½% last year. At Best Buy, you won't see CDs on their shelves anymore. They just ended CD sales in the U.S. In Reno today (Monday), there was just a handful left. What's to blame? Digital streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. At Best Buy, CD sales have been slipping, down to $40 million a year nationwide.
And did you ever think you'd see a day where you could buy vinyl, but not CDs? Best Buy's still selling records, and at Reno's Recycled Records, boxes of new albums come in daily. Eric Jacobson, manager there for 27 years, says vinyl is still being rediscovered. As he told me, "I think LP sales are competing very heavily. I think kids get tired of listening to music on their phones and they started hearing LPs on good stereo systems and just went crazy."
Then again, Eric has a difficult time giving up on any form of music. Recycled Records not only keeps a healthy stock of CDs and vinyl, but also those little plastic boxes full of tape. He told me, "Artists are putting out new cassettes. I mean there are new records released on cassette now."
Cassettes were originally designed for dictation but pressed into service to deliver music to millions. In the 70’s and 80's they were the only way to take tunes with you, in a Walkman, boom box, or in granny's Cadillac Seville tape deck. Now they’re kept alive by punk rockers and minor artists because of their low production cost compared to vinyl.
So what's the future? How are we going to be listening in 20 years? Eric says the future…is in the past: "I think we'll be selling CDs, DVDs and records, especially LPs. And I know the pleasures of record collecting." And young people are discovering this? As he told me, "Big time, big time."