Physical media has been taking a big hit in recent years. The major issue is that a generation of music has come to learn that they can listen to music when they want for free. Gone are the days when you had to purchase the album to listen to the music of the day. Favorite albums have gone to favorite singles. With the rise of Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music there are no need to own music in any fashion. Makes sense that big box chains are looking to pull out of it.
Billboard learned that Best Buy is looking to get out the CD business. Go back twenty years ago, they were beginning the struggle with iTunes and Napster. The MP3 format was taking the scene and physical media wasn’t necessary. The retailer is only bringing in $40 million per year, which is a fraction of what it used to make. They aren’t the only ones. Target is looking to reduce their CD section. They are pushing for a scan-based trading term. Essentially, the chain would pay for DVDs after they are sold or scanned while being rung up at the register.
The chain gave the ultimatum and set the deadline for February 1st but has since pushed it back to April or May 1st. “Entertainment has been and continues to be an important part of Target’s brand,” says the company in a statement. “We are committed to working closely with our partners to bring the latest movies and music titles, along with exclusive content, to our guests. The changes we’re evaluating to our operating model, which shows a continued investment in our Entertainment business, reflect a broader shift in the industry and consumer behavior.”
Is Anyone Surprised?
It isn’t a shock that this is happening. Once physical music media dominated our lives. After the wide use of the internet and downloading music, the public began rebelling against the establishment. CDs are still overpriced for a small number of songs. Record labels would have three radio-friendly songs on an album, then add 7 that were garbage. Yet, you were still changed anywhere from $12 to $17 for the entire album.
With downloadable music came on the scene, record labels disapproved of the fact you would only buy songs you liked. Much like movies or television shows, to a lesser degree, are not necessary to purchase. Many of them are available on streaming services or can be purchased digitally. Physical media is on necessary for the hardcore fans. With the return of vinyl records, and a rise in cassette tapes, retro media is becoming a craze. To be honest, they are only necessary in physical form.
Major retail chains are suffering from downloadable, streaming service, and cheaper online companies. It will be difficult for retailers to carry items that they cannot sell. Best Buy is not the only one. Go into any major retailer of similar products. Music and movies are dwindling. Gaming media is shrinking too. It will come back around again. Once you have an entire generation that don’t know what that media is, they will comeback to it. Don’t believe me. Check out that turntable.