Jul 29, 2018

Go deeper: The slow death of the CD

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Stores that once dedicated whole sections to compact discs are now throwing them in bargain bins as demand for music on CDs shrinks.

The big picture: As streaming services replace previous modes of music consumption, CDs are too young to be considered vintage and too old to keep their value. Stores like Best Buy and Target that were once powerhouses for CD sales are inching toward a CD-less model, according to the Star Tribune.

The decline of CD purchases has been a long time coming. In 2008, CDs represented more than half of the total music market; today, they share (with vinyl) the 17% of the music market that is still physical.

Driving the news: Best Buy was set to axe its CD section altogether by July 1, Billboard reported in February.

  • Due to social media outrage, Best Buy announced it would keep a CD section but resize it to fit the reduced demand.
  • "We saw this with Toys 'R' Us where people react against that even though they themselves haven’t bought a CD from Best Buy in several years," Neil Saunders, retail analyst at GlobalData Retail, told Axios.
  • Target indicated last year it wanted to strike a deal to do scan-based trading for CDs and DVDs, which lets chains pay for items after they get scanned at checkout, per Billboard.

Yes, but: CDs are still a $1 billion business. And the stores are just responding to consumer behavior, Saunders said.

  • "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," Jeff Shelman, senior director of communications for Best Buy, tells Axios.

1 plastic thing: Vinyl sales continue to grow, with revenue up 10% in 2017, per the Recording Industry Association of America’s annual report.

  • Vinyl’s warmth of sound and nostalgic feel is hard to match, Josh Friedlander, senior vice president, strategic data analyst for RIAA, told Axios.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,582,904 — Total deaths: 94,807 — Total recoveries: 351,201Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 454,304 — Total deaths: 16,267 — Total recoveries: 24,962Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus. public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide by today if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  6. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  7. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  8. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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How to understand the scale of American job decimation

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Sentence from a nightmare: 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a decline from the previous week's 6.9 million.

The big picture: Over the past three weeks, 1 in 10 working-age adults filed for unemployment, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

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The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.