The Costco Audio Index

Looking for trends? You do not need pundits or experts, just keep your eyes open. I liked a saying I heard at the last EDUCAUSE meeting on the point where a technology reaches a wide range of acceptance- it appears as a consumer item, the “BestBuyification” of technology.

I was doing some shopping at Costco (more provisions for week’s trip to our mountain cabin), so when I have the time like today, I went to see if they had any worthy audio CDs as the prices there are pretty low.

Over the last few months, I’ve been noticing the shrinking of the audio CD aisle, from what was one time half the long aisle (maybe 80 feet) down to one section, maybe 10 feet. The selection stunk. A bunch of pop flaff and pretty much everything else where those mondo multi disc “Essentials”. I mean c’mon, can there really be enough tunes to compile as the “Essential Huey Lewis and the News” (duscking as there are likely huge fans out there)?

I managed to buy “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (U2)… somewhat nostalgic as I can still recall watching that new cable channel called “MTV” and being mesmerized by this powerful black and white video of “Gloria”— that was about 3 generations ago.

But I digress with nostalgia.

What’s going on at Costco (I guess) is a sharp decline in the demand for pre-packaged sets of audio music– why? I think it starts with an “i” and ends with a “pod” (and its cousins), but the changing landscape in how people want to access and use (mix) music is changing the displays at my Costco. And just because the DVD racks have expanded and filled the gap, their shelf life may be short as well.

I have little interest in buying DVD movies I would barely agree to rent; and their amount of reuse is much lower than music.

If I ran a record company, I would be drastically changing my business model… to what? I don;t know- I am not in the business of business. But the times…. they are a changin’ (or at least that is a track of Essential Dylan)

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I can’t imagine buying a CD at Costco (or any Big Box) anymore. Heck, even music stores have lost their value. It’s iTMS all the way for mainstream stuff.

    I’ll probably still buy specialty CDs that won’t be in iTMS (street musicians, stuff on vacation, etc…) but the price is better online, and all I do with CDs is rip them into iTunes anyway. This cuts out that middle step. CDs that I buy get read once, and shelved. A bit of a waste.

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