As the economy tightens and consumers feel the pinch, used compact discs have become a valuable commodity for sellers and buyers alike. For music fans looking to increase their collections, used CDs offer a way to build a collection at half to two-thirds the cost of buying new CDs; for others, they have found a new type of currency, exchangeable for cash or credit at music stores that had thrived on vinyl.
In the wake of the CD explosion, specialty shops are popping up all over, offering opened new releases or promotional copies for around $5 less than sealed discs. Unlike records and tapes, which wear out after repeated playings and therefore see their value dwindle quickly, there is usually little difference in quality between new and used CDs.
Consumers generally are delighted, but record companies cite concerns about home taping and royalty payments, and hope the trend goes the way of vinyl. Judging by sales of used CDs and the proliferation of stores specializing in them, they're here to stay.