New data from NPD (elaborated on by CNET News) shows that iTunes is on pace to take over from Wal-Mart as the largest U.S. music retailer sometime this year. Nearly half of all teens didn't buy a CD last year, and that held true for more than a million music buyers of all ages.
People in the entertainment business have good reason to worry about this: music consumption is up 6 percent year to year, but the average online music buyer spent 10 percent less. And the same thing is likely to happen to DVDs. (So far, shoes, which provide incredible entertainment value to me, seem immune.)
I had thousands of LPs (and 45s) that I got tired of dragging around the country and sold a few years ago. I now have hundreds of CDs that I never listen to once I've imported them, because I find an iPod hookup much more convenient than a CD player, and I prefer my own mixes anyway.
But I have to say that I do miss wandering record stores, and the serendipity of finding a piece of vinyl to fall in love with. On the other hand, online serendipity is quicker, and takes up a lot less room. (Kind of like Nerve vs. bars.)
(Photo by Sasha Frere-Jones. Thanks to T. for the CNET link.)