If ever there was a moment where you saw a format die, it’s this one. Best Buy has informed all record labels that it will no longer stock CDs in its stores as of July 1st. Not only that, if labels don’t play ball with Target’s new terms, that company won’t stock them either.
This is pretty amazing in that Best Buy was once one of the largest CD retailers in the country. Apparently it will continue to sell vinyl for at least two years to fulfill an agreement with its vendors, but then, who knows? It could be out of the recorded music business altogether. It appears that it will market vinyl as an accessory to turntables in the meantime.
Target will continue to stock CDs on what amounts to consignment, where the risk of shipping and inventory is totally on the labels. If you ever put your own record out as an indie artist in the past and went to a retailer to stock it, you know what that’s like. It costs you money up front and there’s no guarantee that you’ll see a penny from the retailer in the end. No one ever thought that would apply to major labels though. The article states that this will begin in either April or May, with one major label leaning towards “no” and the other two undecided.
It’s not as if the loss of Target will be felt that much sales-wise. Each store once had a huge CD section with nearly a thousand titles. Now it’s down to 100 or less. That said, it can still move product on occasion, as it proved by selling more than 500,000 of Taylor Swift’s Reputation album.
Target has also laid down the same terms to the movie studios for DVDs, but it’s unknown how they’ve responded as of yet. That said, it’s possible that you won’t be seeing a round shiny plastic disc for sale in any of the big box retailers soon.