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Sainsbury’s confirms it is phasing out CDs and DVDs from its stores

By | Published on Friday 9 July 2021


Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has confirmed that it is phasing out the sale of CDs and DVDs in its stores because, you know, Spotify and Netflix and all that jazz. Though vinyl will live on in some of the UK supermarket chain’s shops, because, you know, the vinyl revival and all that jazz. I don’t know why I’m talking about jazz. This won’t affect jazz, given that supermarket CD shelves always prioritising the more mainstream artists and releases and all that jazz. By which I mean, not jazz.

Anyway, a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s tells the BBC that, with even more mainstream consumers now increasingly getting their music and video entertainment through digital services, it was generally felt that shelves were not being best utilised when plastic discs were placed upon them. Not when they could be filled with crisps and socks and mops and all that jazz. But, alas, still no jazz.

“Our customers increasingly go online for entertainment, so earlier this year we took the decision to gradually phase out the sale of DVDs and CDs, so that we can dedicate extra space to food and popular products like clothing and homewares”, Sainsbury’s says.

The Beeb notes that Tesco, Asda and Morrisons have no current plans to follow Sainsbury’s lead and will continue to stock CDs and DVDs in their larger stores. Which is good news for fans of CDs and DVDs. Less so for fans of crisps and socks and mops and all that jazz. Though, and I can’t stress this enough, none of this really affects jazz.

Streaming is, of course, by far the biggest recorded music revenue stream today, although nearly a fifth of the UK record industry’s revenues in 2020 still came from selling discs.

However, record industry trade group BPI has optimistically observed, if mainstream retailers like Sainsbury’s bail on discs, that’s good news for HMV and independent music retailers. And with physical arguably become less a mainstream product and more an enthusiast product – especially with vinyl sales set to outperform CD sales in the UK this year for the first time since the 1980s – maybe it doesn’t matter if supermarkets put crisps before discs.

“The CD has proved exceptionally successful for nearly 40 years and remains a format of choice for many music fans who value sound quality, convenience and collectability”, says one of those BPI spokespeople. “Although demand has been following a long-term trend as consumers increasingly transition to streaming, resilient demand is likely to continue for many years, enhanced by special editions and other collectible releases”.

“If some retailers now see the format as less of a priority”, they go on, “this will create a further opportunity for others, such as independent shops and specialist chains such as HMV, to cater to the continuing demand”. So hurrah for that. Now go buy some jazz.

This story is discussed on this episode of our Setlist podcast