While Internet downloads have hurt, there is still a future in CD sales. At least while the pre-Internet generation is still shopping, according to Cranky Dogs’ Tim Colibaba.
Colibaba, who opened the Parksville music shop 18 years ago, said that while the CD industry has remained fairly stable, there has been a distinct aging trend among his customer base.
“Young people just don’t buy CDs,” he said, suggesting they download or stream their music online, whether legally or not, and that they also seem much less interested in whole albums than previous generations.
He said there is also an increasing trend for Boomers to downsize or load their CD and DVD collections onto their computers get rid of the originals.
This has actually been a huge help to Colibaba, who receives a steady stream of boxes of used discs.
“There’s never been a better time to shop for used music, there’s lots of cheap, perfectly good CDs out there,” he said, guessing he sells about 50/50 new versus used.
He said the shift online has also affected his business with three of the country’s four major central distribution companies disappearing.
He also points out that artists are key in keeping CDs alive, with smaller, or grass roots musicians making a large portion of their income from selling CDs at their shows.
“It’s not like they’re going to finish a great show and then just ask people to go home and download their music,” he said remembering a recent band who performed at the 120 capacity Errington Hall and sold 40 CDs.
He also points out that CDs are easy to make and he currently has about 30 for sale from local artists.
“I would say I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the CD, at least for the foreseeable future,” he said, admitting that could change as the younger Internet generation takes over the market.
He said surprisingly the type of music he sells doesn’t change much, with everything including world music, country, classic rock, blues, new age, easy listening and even hip hop remaining stable.
He said that while he’s always focused on CDs he knows audio formats change over time, and he’s heard that the Smithsonian museum has almost 100 different types from wax cylinders to eight tracks and mini-discs.
Raised in the area, Colibaba started the store next door to The NEWS’ office on Middleton in 1997 and moved to its current location at 154 Morrison Avenue six year’s later when it outgrew that location.
Cranky Dog, open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Sunday, is also one of the main sellers of concert and event tickets in Parksville Qualicum Beach.