Apple has reached 25 million iTunes downloads with 12 million in the last two months alone since releasing the Windows version of iTunes. If things settle in around selling 10-15 million downloads a month average for all legal download music services (including iTunes), one would surmise that the legal online music service is legitimately here to stay, but this begs the question: what will ultimately happen to CDs? There is holygraphic technology on the horizon that can store a terabyte of data on a credit card sized card.
Will retail stores reduce their inventory like they’ve done with cassette and VHS movies to only carry new and popular artists? It will be interesting to review this situation 12-18 months from now and see what retail stores have done with their CD inventory. My guess is it will be shrinking, but to what degree I don’t know. Will stores like Best Buy have the eight to ten rows of CD inventory they have now?
I was at Best Buy recently and saw a customer using Rhapsody to assist with his music shopping.
Best Buy is also selling for $24.99 a three month (gift) subscription to a branded version of Rhapsody with a couple free downloads/burns. Interesting that they essentially are competing against their own store inventory.
Hopefully CDs won’t someday become coffee coasters like the seemingly endless supply of AOL discs, but I think this could be wishful thinking. It’s going to happen.