Over the past few years, Millennials and other generations have mourned the loss of iconic brands that were such important parts of people’s childhoods. From the demise of video rental giant Blockbuster to the recent announcement of Toys R Us closing shop—brands and trends of years past are becoming obsolete. Now, as of July 1st, electronics store Best Buy announced it would dramatically reduce its CD inventory in response to a growing online music streaming market and the increasing popularity of Vinyl records.
This shift in focus to digital downloads and streaming is a reflection of a larger music industry trend of physical music sales declining. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of America, revenues across all streaming platforms (paid subscription, digital radio, and ad-supported streams) reached record highs in 2017. In contrast, while the overall market for physical releases only fell 1%, revenues from CDs accounted for a decline of 3%.
One beacon of hope for the physical music market is actually a predecessor of the compact disk and more. Vinyl records have seen a dramatic increase in interest and sales recently. According to the RIAA report, vinyl sales covered 29% of total physical shipments—their highest market share since the mid-1980s. The total value of physical sales in music only saw a 1% decline overall last year, primarily as a result of the re-emerging vinyl record market.
While many nostalgic 90s babies may be worried about the extinction of another part of their childhoods, Best Buy is making sure to keep emotions at bay. In a statement, the company added that “The way people buy and listen to music has dramatically changed and, as a result, we are reducing the amount of space devoted to CDs in our stores… However, we will still offer select CDs, vinyl and digital music options at all stores.”