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Best Buy to stop selling CDs this summer

Aaron Aupperlee
| Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Best Buy, the world's largest consumer electronics retailer, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2015, lowered its fourth-quarter outlook on weak holiday sales of mobile phones and personal devices. Photo taken Tuesday, March 24, 2009, in Danvers, Mass.
Best Buy, the world's largest consumer electronics retailer, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2015, lowered its fourth-quarter outlook on weak holiday sales of mobile phones and personal devices. Photo taken Tuesday, March 24, 2009, in Danvers, Mass.

What was the last CD you bought?

Not the last album you paid for and downloaded from Apple's iTunes store or the last one you streamed from Spotify.

What was the last physical compact disc you bought?

Best Buy recently told music suppliers it will stop selling CDs by July 1, Billboard reported Tuesday.

Target, meanwhile, has told suppliers it will pay them for CDs only after they are sold, according to the Billboard report.

It shouldn't come as a surprise. CD sales have steadily dropped as revenue from streaming grows, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. In 2016, for the first time, streaming generated more money in the U.S. music business than all other formats combined.

Auto manufacturers have foretold the demise of CDs for years as newer cars are less likely to have an in-dash player and more likely to have Bluetooth connectivity or a pre-installed streaming service such as Spotify or Pandora. Smart speakers such as Amazon's Alexa, Google Home or Apple's HomePod are becoming as ubiquitous as the living room hi-fi system once was.

“They've definitely lost popularity,” Dave Whaley, manager of Dave's Music Mine on Pittsburgh's South Side, said of CDs. “We do still sell them, mostly used.”

Whaley said the store rarely orders new releases. Used CDs range from about $6 to 99 cents.

“The reason we're still open now is because of vinyl,” Whaley said.

Best Buy will continue to sell vinyl for at least the next two years, Billboard reported, placing the records next to turntables in its stores. Vinyl is the only bright spot in physical music as sales ticked up 3 percent in 2016, according to the RIAA.

But don't trash you CD collection just yet. Whaley said just like vinyl, the compact disc could make a comeback in the decades to come.

After all, cassette tape sales rose by 35 percent in 2017 , with 174,000 tapes sold compared with 129,000 in 2016. And leading cassette sales, Guardians of the Galaxy mixtapes.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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