The downfall of the compact disc has come frighteningly fast, though it is a new reality in a world with ever-evolving technology and changing tastes.
The reality of these changes has most recently hit Best Buy, which has announced that it will discontinue CD sales on July 1.
How weird will it be to walk into a Best Buy and not see racks of music? Very. But entertainment stores seemingly have gradually become shells of their former selves ever since the turn of the millennium.
One only needs to head over to the RIAA website to see America's changing tastes in music over the last several decades. In the year 2000, CD album sales in the United States reached $13.2 billion. The following year, sales dipped slightly to $12.9 billion, but were still high.
From there, sales of compact discs have experienced a slow and steady drop, with the exception of 2004, when there was a slight bump upward. In that year, 2004, music enthusiasts were able to begin getting their music from an online source. Digital album sales in the mid-2000s exploded exponentially, from $45.5 million in 2004, to $135.7 million in 2005, to $275.9 million in 2006.
And as digital sales increased, CD sales, unsurprisingly, took a tumble. By the turn of the decade, CD album sales reached only about $3.4 billion. By 2016, the latest data available, CD sales reported in at only about $1.8 billion.
Now, for a little bit of context: Digital album sales in 2016 were $878 million, with digital singles selling at $907 million. CD sales were still higher, but the trends were, and continue to be, obvious: Compact discs are becoming a thing of the past when it comes to listening to music.
Another factor playing a role? Music subscription services, which actually surpassed CDs in 2016 with the revenue generated from sales ($2.3 billion).
Much like the 8-track and the cassette tape, CDs are quickly becoming an item of the past. After all, us humans these days like to have our music with us whenever we want it. We don't want to have to carry around a portable CD player like we did around the turn of the millennium. Heck, many of the computers here at the Enid News & Eagle don't have a place you can slide a CD into.
Yes, the glory days are well behind us, which is no surprise why Best Buy is making this move now.
Malan is entertainment editor for the Enid News & Eagle, a CNHI News Service publication.