Is this the beginning of the end of the CD? Probably not, but it is a reflection of changing times: high street chain Woolworths, lovingly known as Woolies, has announced it is dropping sales of CDs singles and leaping aboard the world of digital downloads.
Showing the brand has its eye firmly fixed on the future, Woolworthsdownload.com launches today and will provide not just music and video content but also java games, mobile wallpapers and ringtones as it targets a youth and technology shy user base.
To promote the site Top 10 tracks and albums will be sold for just 59p and £6.99 respectively for the first week with film and TV prices beginning at just 97p and mobile content from £1.50. Over 1.2m tracks will be available from launch and more than 1,000 films and TV shows including recent blockbusters such as Spiderman 3 and Superbad.
"Everyone remembers buying their first record at Woolworths, which is why there is a degree of sadness in today's announcement," said Woolies Commercial Director Jim Batchelor. "The reality is though that more and more people can't remember the last time they purchased a CD single. But music and songs are still such a huge part of people's lives. They now choose to access both new and old music through downloading. We believe Woolies is very much part of the singles chart's future as well as its history which is why we have launched what we believe is an excellent digital download site. Our customers can now buy their tracks online and enjoy their music digitally."
August will the day the last CD singles leave Woolies' shelves with the occasional exception made for major releases (it gives the X-Factor winner as a prime example *spit*).
Ultimately, while not entirely surprising, Woolies has long been famed for its steadfast support of the CD single - it is currently the UK's biggest singles retailer - so there probably couldn't be a louder message about where we're headed...