A couple of years ago, I could still walk in to Best Buy and test mixes on an assortment of consumer-grade CD players. And while I’ve been calling CDs “concert souvenirs” for a while now – that’s what they are, people want them, people want you to sign them, they still have value – I haven’t entirely realised how true that is.
Part of that is because CD sales as of 2013 (iirc) were still the largest single sales segment. And they’re by far the largest sales segment in albums, despite vinyl’s resurgence.
But… a couple of years ago… I could still walk in to Best Buy and test a CD full of music tracks on an assortment of consumer-grade players. While it’s partly a ritual, it also serves a real purpose – does your mix survive all these different weird players?
And now I can’t. I couldn’t even test it one one, because there weren’t any. The only CD audio players were in the Magnolia HiFi audiophile ministore.
But that’s fine, right? I’m not stupid, I have exactly the same track mix on my phone, and for this exact reason. But then it got really annoying, because I couldn’t test-listen with my phone, either. Sometime in the last year, Best Buy tied all their display gear down to preset sample tracks, which no doubt hide their flaws and emphasise their strengths. Play your own music to see how that sounds? Nope.
Not cool, Best Buy. Not cool at all.
It’s a little surprising, to be honest, because of those sales numbers. Are all those CDs still being sold – a decent number – going into older, legacy players?
So I went poking around online – Best Buy is the midrange, let’s drop down market segments a little. Target’s page on audio brings up a turntable before a CD player, but they at least have a few – Crosley, the maker of retro-styled audio gear, and Jensen.
It took going to Walmart to find a bit of a selection – or Amazon, of course. But what you seem to have is audiophile and low-end, and not a whole lot in between. Just like the American economy. Aheh.
Which leaves home theatre as the last mass-market stop for physical media. But do people actually do this? Do people play CDs on home theatre systems? I don’t. Never have. Anna doesn’t either. We’ve had it set up for AirPlay for a while, along with all the other audio – we pipe mp3s over the LAN.
But most people aren’t going to do that until it’s a standard feature, or at very least, common. So maybe other people pop CDs into the BluRay player? Is that a thing?
Of course, the CD… it’s a concert souvenir, so it doesn’t really matter. Rip and put in the souvenir box, right? No big.
Until computers stop having optical drives in three years’ time. Then what’re we going to do for souvenirs?
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