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For anyone still interested, it’s pretty difficult to find CDs today.

Most major music store chains are gone, and the indie shops that are left are mostly stocked with vinyl (and cassettes!).


Just last month, Starbucks announced it would stop selling CDs at the end of March. At one point the chain was selling as many as 3.6 million CDs a year, according to Billboard.

The reason for their decision would seem to be obvious. Last year, CD album sales declined 15 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan continuing a trend that goes at least as far back as 2004.

cd sales

Album sales in general continue to shrink, and CDs' share of sales with them, Nielsen SoundScan data show.


Then last week, another potential reason to drop CDs emerged. The music industry voted to establish a new worldwide music release date of Friday. The stated reason is to fight piracy — until the change, every country had a different day of the weak for new releases, which the industry said led to leaks.

But MusicWeek's Tom Pakinkis said the change could prove costly to retailers, and that an unidentified source told him Target was considering dropping music sales altogether.


In an email to Fusion, Target said its CD shelves aren’t going anywhere.

“Target has absolutely no plans to stop selling music in our stores or on,” said Target spokesman Evan Miller. “We will continue to find ways to fuel our guests’ passion by delivering exciting, exclusive content at an unbeatable value.”


He also said Target “supports the music industry's efforts to fight piracy and we are aligned on having one global release date.”

Best Buy has been shrinking the store-space it devotes to CDs (and DVDs) at many of its stores.


But a company spokesman said it also had no immediate plans to stop CD sales.

A representative for Walmart, which also sells CDs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The music industry has major incentives to keep things this way. Although CD sales are falling, Nielsen data show mass merchants still had the greatest share of physical album sales last year among all retailers, at 41 percent.

album sales by store type

But Target’s Miller also said music remains an important part of Target’s brand, pointing to a recent partnership with Imagine Dragons as an example.

“And there will be more to come,” he said.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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