I don’t go to my local Salvation Army store out of economic desperation. I want to make that clear, but I am a Salvation Army regular.
Since I got married in 2005, I’ve been carting carloads of household goods and other items, including never-used electronics, to the store in a never-ending quest to consolidate the belongings of two households into one.
When I walk in, it’s like Norm walking into Cheers.
After unloading my car, I usually take a leisurely walk around the “media aisles” in search of some old vinyl to expand my grandfather’s Caruso collection, fill in a few gaps in my LP collection, and surprise myself with some oddball finds, like Vaughn Meader’s 1962 “The First Family” comedy album, which spoofed President John F. Kennedy and family.
Usually, the vinyl is near a stack of prerecorded audio cassette tapes and VHS tapes, but last week, a few dozen CDs appeared for sale for the first time.
My find indicates that the end of the music CD could be closer than we think. It also indicates that the end of physical music media might also be close at hand.
When 8-track tapes were sold at Salvation Army stores and flea markets, it was to make way for the prerecorded analog cassette. When cassettes appeared at the Salvation Army, it was to make way for CDs. But with used CDs now on sale at the Salvation Army for 25 cents, it’s to make way for digital downloads.
Once CDs are gone from the Salvation Army, there will be no mainstream physical music media to replace them, and in the future, there will be one less reason to linger in the store.