Best Buy music CD sales end tipped with July phase-out date

Digital music sales and streaming have made the venerable music CD very close to obsolete for some consumers. The format can still be found in homes, but new sales of audio compact discs are on the decline in the US and now Best Buy is doing something about it. The electronics retailer plans to end its music CD sales this summer, according to sources, and it's not the only retailer considering this move.

Music CDs remain a popular format among individuals who are picky about their audio quality, but even audiophiles are gravitating away from the format. As the cost of storage drives decrease and the capacities increase, switching from music CDs to lossless audio formats like FLAC is appealing. Audiophiles aside, many casual music enthusiasts find standard streaming and digital downloads perfectly adequate.

It's perhaps no surprise, then, that Best Buy is looking to end its music CD sales entirely. The information comes from sources speaking with Billboard, which reports that Best Buy plans to pull the plug in July of this year. However, the retailer reportedly plans to continue offering vinyl sales for two years due to the format's renewed popularity and the company's existing agreements.

The sources go on to claim that music CD sales are only bringing in about $40 million per year for Best Buy, which is apparently not enough to justify keeping them on shelves. The vinyl will also reportedly start being sold alongside turntables to help boost that market's revenue.

The business decision, assuming the sources are correct, may be the tipping point for a retailer abandonment of music CDs. According to the same report, the retailer Target is cracking down on disc sales by giving suppliers a hard choice: switch to a consignment-based arrangement or risk losing the retail franchise entirely.

Sources say that music suppliers have until either April 1 or May 1 to decide whether they will agree with terms that will have Target only paying for music CDs after someone has purchased them. This would put the risk on the labels, not Target, which may otherwise trigger a rapid reduction of its music CD sales. The company is reportedly also pushing something similar for DVD suppliers, which have a shorter deadline.