Hey, psssstt.. Over here! Lean in close… don’t tell anyone, but I’ve got a huge secret for you. Just you, though, nobody else. That’s important, because we can’t have this secret getting out… okay, ready? Compact Disc sales are down.

ISN'T THAT NUTS!?

I couldn't believe it either. I mean, I'm an avid CD buyer. Every week I trek down to HMV and sift their goldmine of a selection. Last week, I unearthed a dusty copy of Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy and the new Kelly Clarkson disc. It was only $15, and that new single is pretty swell. However, I've noticed a strange trend at HMV, and at a few other ‘music’ stores; they're selling a lot of movies now. Also a lot of television show sets, posters, bags, headphones, CD players, gift certificates, and banality. Seems to be something wrong with the business model.

I mean, when I wander into the EB Games across the mall hallway, all I can really find is video games. The stores aren't very big, but every inch is filled with a game or a game-related peripheral. Same deal with clothing stores, generally full of clothes. When I wander into Urban Trade and ask for their movie section, I get blank stares. Same with the food courts, hair salons, cell-phone booths, and other retailers.

This brick-and-mortar fall-out is probably because it's 100% easier to buy music online, either digital or physical. I mean, from my chair at home, I type the name of the band I want, then look for the check-out button. Literally 30 seconds and I've made my purchase. Sure, there's no instant satisfaction of getting out to the car and listening on the way home, but there's something about refreshing the ‘track order status’ page every 15 seconds. It's like having a GPS tracking unit on the bottom of Santa's sleigh, and you just hit ‘F5’ to find out where he is. It's invigorating. And I don't have to listen to My Chemical Romance while doing it.

Contrary to CD sales (down 15.6% last month, going up slightly to 14.6% this month), digital purchases are on the up and up, so maybe there's something to this online shopping. The digital sales haven't fully counteracted the downward spiral of the CD, and that's probably because an entire generation of customers have been alienated by retailers. Shitty mall music stores have always catered to the youngest crowd possible, but today's young people don't even know what a CD is. That's old-fart technology. In the process of pushing all the newest pablum, music retailers have relegated good customers (old people) to second class. By placing all ‘their’ music at the back and blasting whatever shite is currently ‘popular,’ you've effectively removed any reason for someone over age 25 to shop at your establishment. Ironically, these alienated customers are the same people that fear technology. My father (who's in his late 40s) recently claimed he will NEVER buy anything online, out of fear of digital theft. His friends/family share similar feelings. He also doesn't go to music stores anymore for the reasons I listed above. He gets me to buy music for him online, or I just download it and burn it (which is legal in this country). Hear that music companies? My father, a music customer for more than 40 years, no longer buys your products. And it's all your fault.

However, harping on the failings of the music industry is like trying to ‘politically correct’ my grandfather. A lot of the ‘old-fashioned’ terminology he uses would land him on TMZ if he were Gibson, but he knows the end isn't that far away, so he doesn't care. I know his end isn't very far away either, so I don't badger him about it (unless we're in public). I know he'll continue in his archaic ways, continually embarrassing himself, and eventually pitter out to nothing. So, I hope you enjoyed your run Compact Disc/Traditional Business Model/Grandad, because you're well past the expiry date.

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