retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Seattle Times has an interesting story about an annual celebration that took place around the country last Saturday that simultaneously tried to bolster a dying retail segment while acknowledging how the world has changed.

“The occasion is Record Store Day, a five-year-old promotion that has exploded into the single biggest sales day of the year for music retailers. In Seattle, it's become a fizzy festival, with bargains, deluxe limited-edition releases and live performances.

“Yet for all the hoopla, Record Store Day may also be the death rattle of a retail industry. Since 2007, CDs sales have plummeted 18 to 20 percent per year (except for 2011, when the bleeding was stanched at a 5.6 percent). Last year, for the first time, digital sales surpassed physical discs, taking just over 50 percent of the market. The great record store chains of yore — Tower, Peaches, Discount, Virgin — are gone.

“And while 900 U.S. independent stores are participating in this year's Record Store Day - four major ones in Seattle that still deal in new releases - business has turned more and more to used product, accessories, books and clothing. Perhaps the most vivid writing on the wall is that tablets - and the next generation of laptops - do not have CD drives ... Though rumors of the CD's demise are premature, with the rise of streaming and ‘the cloud’ - accessing music online from a digital pool - the format is probably doomed.”

If you don’t believe this, think about it. What was the last CD you bought, and when?

And then ask your kids - when was the last time one of your kids bought a CD?

Nothing is as it was. Get used to it.
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