Say goodbye to mail-order CD service Columbia House

say goodbye to mailorder dvd cd service columbia house death by burner

While Netflix innovated to remain relevant in the age of streaming media, music and DVD mail-order service Columbia House didn’t — and the company just paid the ultimate price. In a long-overdue move, the enterprise that brought home $1.4 billion in profits in 1996 has filed for bankruptcy according to the Wall Street Journal.

While building a business based on physical CD and DVD orders made Columbia House a fortune in the ’90s, the company has (unsurprisingly) fallen in the age of iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music.

“This decline is directly attributable to a confluence of market factors that substantially altered the manner in which the consumers purchase and listen to music, as well as the way consumers purchase and watch movies and television series at home,” said Mr. Langberg in court documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

Columbia House was essentially the precursor to streaming music services, sending its subscribers 13 CDs for $1 as an introductory package. Then, subscribers were forced to buy a specific number of albums at full price. The service, as mentioned, hit its peaked at around 8 million customers in the mid ’90s according to Forbes. It transitioned to a DVD mail order business, ala the Netflix of old, in 2010 and had 110,000 by the time of the bankruptcy filing.

As sales of CDs and DVDs dropped dramatically in the 21st century Columbia House execs were unwilling, or unable to make the transition to a streaming media service. And, it seems, the company may have been doomed even before the streaming age. “The parent company was slow to get into the digital era because they wanted to protect the cash flow. They weren’t fast enough,” said an unnamed source to Forbes. “Competitors like Amazon were far more adept at software development. It got ‘Amazoned.’ It got hammered first by e-commerce and then iTunes and it would have gotten zapped by streaming.”

Columbia House’s trajectory is a stark reminder that competitors need to innovate to stay relevant — another cautionary tale in the ever-evolving digital age.

Movies & TV

Why ruin a good thing? These are some of the worst movie sequels ever made

A sequel that doesn't compare to the original film isn't worth making, right? Unfortunately, this is Hollywood we're talking about. We've picked out 12 films which will go down as some of the worst follow-ups ever made.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.
Movies & TV

Do you have questions about Hulu? We’ve got answers

Not sure which Hulu subscription is right for you? We're here to help. This is your complete guide to Hulu and Hulu with Live TV, including content offerings for each service, pricing, internet requirements, and more.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Godzilla,’ Brightburn,’ ‘Triple Frontier,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailers for Brightburn and Triple Frontier, among other previews.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma, ‘Sabrina’ special

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Alfonso Cuaron's new film Roma, Jim Henson's classic fantasy The Dark Crystal, and more.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Home Theater

Fluance’s four beautiful new turntables arrive with easy-to-stomach prices

Acclaimed audio brand Fluance launched four new turntables as part of its new Reference series, aiming to offer elegant looks and pristine sound to those who are just getting into the world of high-end analog audio.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (January 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in December 2018 and January 2019, from new original series to classic…
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.