Grand Rapids area residents who often find themselves on Alpine Avenue have surely already noticed, but for those who have not, the Best Buy store on Alpine will soon pack up and move to a new location….just a few thousand feet down the road to a new location on Alpine. The new Best Buy store will be housed in the building that was formerly the home of the now defunct Circuit City on Alpine. Unfortunately, the date of the move has not yet been made public and management at the Alpine Best Buy declined an invitation to participate in this story.
Undertaking a store closing, moving and re-opening is sure to be a massive amount of work for those involved so it must have been determined that moving the store closer to the intersection of I-96 and US-131 will improve business enough to justify the move. For the rock music fan however, this may bring forth a number of questions. What will the new Best Buy location’s future hold for those who still prefer to purchase tangible music formats like CDs and records as opposed to purchasing music online?
It is no secret to fans of contemporary music, regardless of the genre, that music sales have progressively declined over the past decade for physical formats while digital sales have increased. Fewer and fewer CDs are sold every quarter of every year, yet vinyl record sales have increased in recent years as a new generation discovers that turntables can also be used to simply play music and not just as an instrument to make music. Not coincidentally, Best Buy has been reducing store and shelf space for music a bit at a time as sales numbers have fallen. The former Alpine Circuit City carried even fewer music titles on CD and no vinyl whatsoever compared to Best Buy. Now that the CD/DVD Exchange store on Alpine is also gone, Best Buy is one of the last standing of the very few options for music lovers.
As the details of this new Best Buy location are currently a mystery, one may question whether the new store will have a smaller music section or whether it will at least continue the trend of reducing sales space for music in the store as it has in recent years. A representative from Best Buy public relations confirmed that “CDs are not going away, but they are declining.” While it may also be a mystery to determine how and why Best Buy chooses to carry the artists and albums it does, the ultimate goal remains to follow the sales numbers. The public relations representative explained “We aren’t sure whether or not the vinyl selections will expand or continue, but we will cater to the market for formats and titles people are interested in buying.”
There seems to be a willingness to give music buyers more options at Best Buy but the vastness and variety of those options are determined mostly, if not completely, by sales trends. As of now the appeal to music fans of the new Best Buy location is yet to be determined, but as sales of digital music online continue to increase, music collectors may find it harder and harder to drive to their local music outlet and walk out with that hot new release or even more rare, that long-lost catalog gem.