Decision starts the countdown to the chain’s end of selling used CDs too.

Earlier this month Taro Kono, Japan’s Minster of Digital Affairs, asked the government to revise its remaining regulations that require data to be stored on floppy discs. We’ve yet to see widespread compliance on that recommendation, but there’s a different move away from the physical media of yesteryear that’s about to happen in Japan’s private sector.

Geo is a chain of stores that sells both new and used entertainment media. Geo branches tend to be farther outside downtown city centers than those of their more prevalent rival, Book Off, but Geo also tends to have lower prices, according to those looking to stretch their media-buying budgets. The bargain hunting is going to be winding down in one category soon, however, as Geo has announced it will no longer be buying used CDs.

The official announcement was made through Geo’s website back on September 7 but doesn’t appear to have been mentioned by the company’s official Twitter account. That might be why there wasn’t much social media chatter about Geo phasing out its used CD purchasing, but with the last day coming this week, it’s getting increased attention and drawing wistful reactions. A chain that stops buying used CDs is, after all, eventually going to run out of used CDs to sell, so Geo’s change in policy is being seen as the end of an era.

Part of the reason why some people in Japan are feeling so nostalgic about the idea of buying used CDs has to do with their pricing. In Japan, for decades, CD prices have been set by publishers, with 3,000 yen being the standard price. That works out to more than US$20 even with the current low value of the yen, and for much of the CD era albums in Japan cost roughly twice what they did in the U.S. Retailers are prohibited from discounting their CDs until years after their release date, but used CD shops have the freedom to price their discs however they want to, and so used CDs became the foundation of many fans’ music collections, especially if they were going to take a chance on an album where they hadn’t already heard each and every song.

So there are a lot of people who have a lot of memories tied to scouring the CD shelves at Geo, leading to Twitter comments such as:

“I even went to Geo branches in the next prefecture over sometimes to look for used CDs. They really helped me out, and I’m sad to see this happening.”
“I think we’re moving into the era when CDs themselves are collectors’ items.”
“I think we’re going to see other used media chains do the same thing soon. If you’ve got CDs you’re thinking of selling, now’s the time. Just remember that there are a lot of albums that aren’t on music streaming services, so check on that before you get rid of them.”
“This is going to make it hard for people to discover older songs that aren’t on streaming services.”
“Seems like CDs are going to disappear before records.”
“Young people today don’t even own a CD player. When I go to the CD corner at Book Off, it’s nothing but middle-aged guys.”
“Digital files and streaming services are nice and all, but it feels like there’s something important missing without a physical form.”
“I’ll never forget the local Geo in my hometown. I spent my youth there, and it was like the parent that cultivated my taste in entertainment media.”

The last day Geo will purchase used CDs in-store is September 30, and September 29 will be the last day for home pick-up purchases.

Source: Geo via IT Media, Twitter
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where the used single of Linderg’s “Ima Sugu Kiss Me” he got for 100 yen remains one of his favorite music purchases.