I really don't think that's it. If the average consumer was still interested in CDs, but just frustrated with purchasing CDs at Walmart and Best Buy, then we wouldn't be seeing massive declines in that format, we'd just be seeing those sales shift from one retailer to another. But the decline has been much more than Walmart and Best Buy eliminating most of their CD racks in store. Dedicated music stores are pretty much extinct. They're extinct because people aren't buying that product anymore. I have had all of my CDs in storage since 2011. I just don't have the room to display them, and I have all of the content from those discs on my computer in a quality that meets or exceeds my needs. I miss having easy access to the artwork, and I hope one day to have room to display them, but it turns out that not having a physical CD in my possession has had basically zero impact on the quantity of music I listen to. I've been ripping my CDs to my computer and playing them that way since about 2003. The other day, I noticed that Paul Simon had a new album out, and since I'm seeing him in concert at the end of the week, I decided I wanted to hear the new album before the show. I ordered the CD from Amazon, and it was about $12, and I had to wait two or three days for it to arrive. I then ripped the CD to my computer. Instead of doing that, I could have purchased the album on iTunes for $10 and had it that instant. I spent an extra $2 to have a physical copy delivered that I would rip once and then put in storage. It's a habit I haven't broken yet. But I'm very obviously in a minority when it comes to that. For most people, "paying more money and waiting more time to have access to the same thing" is not the winning formula. I'm probably already two steps behind of where everyone else is. Here I am, comparing buying the physical CD vs. buying the digital download, when most people have moved away from buying altogether. For less than the cost of this one album, I could have paid for a month or a couple months of a subscription service that would have let me listen to almost every album ever made for almost nothing. So why am I spending $12 on an album when I could spend $5 a month to have unlimited access to all recorded music? People started moving away from CDs because it was no longer the cheapest or most convenient way for them to enjoy their music. And as people started moving away from buying CDs, stores started stocking less of them, and stopped caring about how well versed their employees were in products that were no longer important to the business.