Music is ever evolving and so is the way we listen to music. While vinyl, 8-tracks, cassette tapes, and now even CDs, are old school, we are seeing that trend of vintage things reemerging and becoming cool. Millennials love all things of the past – vinyl records included. Although many millennials were raised on cassette tapes, CDs and MP3s, vinyl presents a unique authentic sound that cannot be replicated by modern digital recordings. Stores like Urban Outfitters are at the forefront of the vintage movement through their updated and constant stock of records and record players.
With the increased visibility of vinyl records, it brings up the question: where are the CDs? According to the 2017 Year-End Music Report by Nielsen Music, physical album sales dropped to a significant 16.5% in 2017 compared to 2016, while vinyl LP sales increased 9% year-over-year. The decline of CDs has even translated into CD sales in retail stores. To alleviate competition with digital music, Best Buy will no longer sell CDs starting July 1st of this year. The electronic store does still plan to sell vinyl – well at least for the next two years. Target is also another brand that is anticipated to follow Best Buy’s lead, however, they are taking a slightly different approach. Target will sell CDs on a distribution basis. Instead of buying CDs in bulk from the record labels, Target will pay the labels for CDs but only when customers buy them. This will be an interesting adjustment for the companies who have been selling CDs since the 80s.
While some companies are seeing a loss due to the decline of CDs, others are handling it very differently. Sony Music, for example, is definitely taking advantage and making the growing trend worthwhile. Sony will begin producing vinyl again after an almost 30-year hiatus. The company is rumored to start distributing their records starting in March. No news yet on whether the label will dump CDs in 2018, but it is something that could be foreseeable in their future.
Whether you prefer CDs, vinyl or streaming, it is great to see that the music industry is very much still thriving and expanding. With the extinction of CDs, maybe we will see cassette tapes make a huge comeback in the next few years. If so, I still have that Sade Diamond Life tape that my mom used to play in her ‘99 Ford Contour.