As heard on CNET’s Buzz Out Loud, and traced back to the source, EMI are apparently backing out of deals with smaller retailers in the US, preferring to only sell to the big stores, such as Walmart and Best Buy.
I don’t know why they’d stop, surely it is the same price to deliver to one store as it is to another, however, this is bad news for physical music sales.
Independent CD shops tend to have a much wider selection, buy and sell used music, and can track down relatively unknown artists. I don’t remember the last time I bought a CD, and I won’t notice when these shops disappear. I think a lot of people will though.