Monday, August 20, 2012

Yard sales as an indicator of entertainment media trends

"All discs are 50 cents each or 3/ $1.00"

It may not be obviously  unless you're in retail music, but yard sales are a excellent indicator of music (and video) physical media treads. Think about the yard sales you've been to in the last year and the year before. Remember the VHS tapes occupying a lowly place among other "treasures" with a box sign that says "50 cents each". (It's okay to admit that you may have scooped up a handful, for that VCR that still occupies a space in your A/V rack).

Fast forward to last summer, where you could find DVDs for $1.00 to $3.00 each, with most selling for the former. Now, they're almost all but ignored (except by the folks who are a generation or two behind in technology). How long do you think it will be before Blu-Ray discs are found on your neighbor's front yard tables? It's likely that you've already pasted some by, without a second thought.

What has happened to the once proud disc? Think Cloud. There is now almost no need for physical media. There are a variety of cloud services available to the consumer like ,,, and a wealth of others.  Wal-Mart will upload your discs to the "Cloud" for a minimal fee and you probably already have an external drive loaded with music and movies that you could move there as well.

Recently, I've seen tons of compact discs everywhere for 50 cents each and good stuff too. Music services like iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora have everything we want, so why bother? Well, at 50 cents you should buy discs you like and archive them. After all, who know what will happen after we break the bonds of plastic discs and are at the mercy of our cloud masters. (Well, I don't really believe that but there is no denying the sound quality of a compact disc recording versus an mp3). There are music file formats superior to standard mp3s, but we'll leave that for another discussion.

The only exception to all this upheaval seems to be that mystical sphere known as the vinyl record. Long play record albums to be exact. They're still being hoarded by vinyl junkies everywhere, myself included. Apparently there is something primal in us that's touched when the needle drops down on a vinyl disc. Much of the time I find myself in constant competition with others wherever there is a catch of these jewels. Of course, I'm referring to copies that have emerged from private collections unscathed by the ravages of outdoor flea markets, and not your dad's beat up copies siting in a box in the basement!

So which do you buy the next time you happen across a good yard sale? Well, that depends on your usage. Are you a young person (with lots of time) loading thousands of discs and songs to your iTunes account or someone who just wants to kick back on the sofa with a John Coltrane record lazily spinning on the turntable? As they say, "it's all good".

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