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Nostalgia drives CDs sales' growth

People assume CDs are going away, but these days, industry manufacturers notice people are leaning toward older forms of music like vinyl, so CDs will continue to be made and sold, said David Eckstrom, Forever Young Records owner.

CD sales increased by 20% from $483 million in 2020 to $584 million in 2021, making up for its long decline in sales since 2004, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s annual sales report.

Arlington resident Arthur Arana said millennials could be buying CDs because they grew up listening to music with them.

Eckstrom said some chain stores originally abandoned CDs because the profit margins and floor space were too expensive for stores to have a legitimate music section.

Older generations like to own something tangible when they spend money, and they can resell those items to make money if they want, he said.

Arana said he likes the physical aspects of putting a CD into a stereo system because he feels searching up and listening to music lacks emotional value.

CDs are sold at a reasonable price, so some people prefer them over expensive vinyl, Eckstrom said.

“Most people like to own what they buy,” he said.

There are people who switched from vinyl to CDs back in the late ’90s, so their collections might be over 30 years old and massive, Eckstrom said.

The current generation may not understand because they don’t have much experience with CDs, Eckstrom said.

Alicia Boulom, critical languages and international studies in Korean sophomore, said CDs are fun to display and convenient to use in the car rather than plugging in a phone.

Unlike American artists CDs, where it’s just the case and disc, K-pop CDs are popular because they come with freebies like stickers and posters inside for fans to enjoy, Boulom said.

She said she buys her albums either on Amazon, Target or in Koreatown in Carrollton.

With a CD, the music is for people to keep, but it can be taken away from those with music subscriptions on streaming platforms, Grand Prairie resident Na’Tia Price said.

Collecting CDs is still popular for the aesthetic appeal and just to own a certain album, Boulom said.

Price said the younger generations are getting into CDs, which may be why sales are climbing back up.

People like to collect stuff and get their hands on things, especially if the CD is signed by their favorite artist, which can’t be done with streaming services, she said.


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