CDs going way of records, 8-tracks, cassette tape
Opinions vary on whether the music CD is on its way to becoming a collector's item.
Still, it's harder these days to buy compact discs in big box stores such as Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Those major retailers have reduced the floor space their stores devote to compact discs, retail experts say.
In the Pittsburgh area, some regional malls such as Ross Park Mall and South Hills Village have no music stores. The FYE entertainment retail chain has stores at The Mall at Robinson and Century III, Westmoreland and Monroeville malls.
Music lovers who like to browse racks of CDs can go to independent music stores, along with remaining Borders and some other retailers.
Last year, CD sales fell 19 percent nationwide, the Recording Industry Association of America said. But sales of downloaded albums were up 16.8 percent last year, and individual tracks were up 9.6 percent, Nielsen SoundScan said.
Overall, music sales in the U.S. this year were up by 1.6 percent as of May 8, Nielsen said.
The music world has become a digital world, said Paige Beal, an associate professor of marketing at Point Park University. "You now get a feeling that CDs are almost for hobbyists," she said.
The shift to downloads started more than a decade ago as illegal file-sharing sites took off. Now, iTunes and similar sites form the backbone of the fast-changing industry.
"Music is available in all kinds of places," said Joshua P. Friedlander, vice president of research and strategic analysis for the Washington-based Recording Industry Association. "We can't measure how the music industry is doing just by how many CDs are sold."
Sales in the legal digital music market exceeded $3 billion last year in the United States.
And there are hundreds of music services worldwide. Among them: Amazon, which also sells CDs online; iTunes, subscription services such as Rhapsody and Napster; Internet radio such as Pandora, LastFM and Slacker; and video streaming sites such as Vevo and YouTube, along with social network services such as MySpace Music.
Big-box retailers once outfoxed and underpriced stores such as National Record Mart. Now they have cut their CD selections, while national music store chains are shrinking.
Retailers constantly evaluate use of floor space. "So if the industry is down 20 percent, then Wal-Mart is probably down 20 percent," said retail expert C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group in Charleston, S.C. "There is always demand for something new and different."
Not everyone likes the changes.
Domenic Dozzi used to buy long playing records at Pittsburgh-based National Record Mart. That chain ceased business nearly a decade ago.
Dozzi, 50, of Oakmont, browsed through Elvis Costello and U2 albums this week at Paul's Compact Discs in Bloomfield. "I like to come to a store like this," he said. "I like to hold the album, look at the art on the cover, read the liner notes."
His daughters, ages 15 and 18, are more likely to download individual songs by Lady Gaga, Eminem or Shakira, he said
Sparse music collections in stores also worry Eric Jackson Lurie, 38, a Highland Park attorney who also is an amateur musician and record collector.
While their selections never were broad, "Big stores cutting back on CDs means there is less exposure of good music to the general public," he said.
Johnny Saint-Lethal, 27, of Dormont, lead vocalist in the rock band The Show, goes to The Exchange in Dormont three or four times a week. The Cleveland area chain has about 10 stores in the Pittsburgh area.
"The big stores cutting back on CDs increases the need for independent music stores," he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers kicker Boswell puts best foot forward
- South Fayette, Aliquippa form unique traditions for Thanksgiving Day
- McIntyre students hope Buddy Bench is beneficial to all
- Gorman: Look out for unsung hero
- Penn State suffers home loss to Radford
- West Virginia football team finds late-season mean streak
- Occupying playoff spot on Thanksgiving good harbinger for Penguins
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams
- Kiski Area boys a team in transition after graduation of top scorer
- Penn State-West Virginia rivalry renews at Elite Eight
- Expanded roster helps boost Kiski Area girls