Despite the explosion of digitally downloaded music, avid collectors are keeping the market for CDs and music stores alive.
“CDs are necessarily like a ‘master’ copy of a record, compared to any digital file format,” said Marc Weinstein, co-owner and co-founder of Amoeba Music, an independent music store with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkeley. “Collectors who truly love a particular artist tend to want to have a ‘hard copy’ of their work … LPs, even more so. The fidelity, the artwork, just cannot be beat.”
Amoeba Music and other independent music stores—and their collective encyclopedic knowledge of music—help keep their doors open, despite the growing number of consumers, who use Google or Apple iTunes to purchase music, often one single at a time.
Yinka Adegoke, deputy editor of Billboard magazine, cited figures that put digital transition into perspective. “In 2004, the first full year of iTunes, the music industry sold 665.4 million CDs and 5.5 million digital albums,” or digitally downloaded albums, he said in an email. “In 2011, the music industry sold 223.5 million CDs and 103.1 million digital albums.”
Despite the migration to digital downloads, brick-and-mortar independent stores serve as community gathering place for music lovers.
“[Physical retailers] still serve as a hub for their local community, for those who love to congregate and flick through the physical product,” Adegoke said. “There will still be physical music sales five or 10 years from now.”
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