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The last few times I've visited Easy Street Records in West Seattle (celebrating 20 years in business this week, by the way), I've been astounded

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Used CDs: Listen To 'Em, Burn 'Em, Sell 'Em...Repeat.

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The last few times I've visited Easy Street Records in West Seattle (celebrating 20 years in business this week, by the way), I've been astounded at the stacks..no, towers...of used CDs and records the buyer recently purchased. But I also overheard the buyer explaining to one seller that, because of the market, he couldn't offer the same amount for each that he used to. The economy has taken a nosedive, in case you hadn't noticed. On top of that, CD sales have declined overall. Further, those sales have declined in part because of the rise of MP3s. The convergence of these factors has lead to a spike in the number of people looking to unload their CD collections at places like Easy Street and Sonic Boom. Because of the economy, more people sell their CDs because they need cash. Because of MP3s and iTunes, more people just rip their collections onto their laptops and get rid of the CDs before they collect dust. But if CDs are so low, I had to wonder if the stores were selling enough to make it worthwhile. Given Easy Street's massive used sections, I decided to write owner Matt Vaughan about how his stores are handling this trend(s).

Because the economy sucks right now, have you in fact seen a dramatic inscrease in the number of people unloading CDs and DVDs for cash? If so, how many used CDs

and DVDs are people turning in compared to previous years?

It's getting silly. Easy Street has always prided itself on being able to buy just about everything (folks don't like to walk out with crap) and eventually get it into the right persons little hands...we recycle, if you will. So we price and burn as quick as

we can and actually have more sales than before.

Have you had to adjust what you offer per CD because of this increase?

The prices have come down on our buying, yes, but also on our selling price. The retail price of the used CD has dropped about 25% in the last two years. What was once an $8 cd is now $6. People have been unloading and purging their collections for some time now. The thought of hauling your CD's, DVD's, and LP.s everytime you move is always a burden and for some it is easier to rip what they want and sell off the rest. We've become part of the solution, but in a much bigger way than I would have expected. Of course, also people are streamlining and throwing everything they can on their iTunes. Of course, with money being tight for everyone, selling your used goods is quick cash.

Since CD sales are low overall, are you finding that used CDs are slower to move, as well? If so, what are you doing to adjust?

Again, we've marked our prices down..come on down and check it out. With that, we are selling about the same amount of used CD's as we did last year. Vinyl sales and prices have gone up, so we do make up a little with this vinyl craze going

on. Also, we sell lots of used DVD's, but we've dropped prices there a bit too.

If it keeps increasing dramatically, do you think you'll maybe just start offering trade instead of cash?

Half of our buys have been trade for some time and they seem to still be that way. You can get up to 20% more in trade and with our new used prices being the best in town, we tend to still get a lot of trades going for the avid music lover. As

much as people still need cash, they also gotta have new tunes, right? And it's a fun impulsive thing to do once your in the store. How can you not?

 
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