Like a dinosaur, I still purchase CDs. Perhaps I don't buy as many at brick-and-mortar stores as I used to, but that's because selection has declined at places like Best Buy. That alone should be an indication of where the future of physical media is headed.
The canary in the coal mine that I want to address, though, is the number of shoppers I see when I'll drop in on a new release Tuesday. It used to be that the stores would be busy and the parking lots were relatively full. Over the last couple years I've noticed that there are a lot fewer cars outside and a lot fewer people inside. I can go around lunch time and not have to wait to check out. Best Buy is the behemoth of the big box electronics retailers that's still standing, but how much longer can they still make a go of it?
Sure, when Christmas shopping madness kicks into gear at Thanksgiving, I'm sure the lines will be long and the parking lots packed. Maybe the fourth quarter is enough to sustain business, but I'm beginning to wonder if most of these big retailers, which have fought a war of attrition to rule their markets, can last in the long haul.
Granted, this is just anecdotal evidence, but years of new release Tuesday shopping shows me that there's definitely a decline in those joining me.