The average price of a CD in U.S. stores in the third quarter was $12.95, according to a survey conducted by NPD Music Watch Price Lab. That represents a 4% decline from the $13.49 the firm found in t

The average price of a CD in U.S. stores in the third quarter was $12.95, according to a survey conducted by NPD Music Watch Price Lab. That represents a 4% decline from the $13.49 the firm found in the same period last year.

In studying patterns within CD pricing, NPD found that catalog albums carried a $12.84 price point in the third quarter, while current product was slightly higher, at $13.08.

Consumer electronics chains appear to be leading the charge for lower pricing, with an average of $12.71 for current product.

Mass merchants are the price leaders for catalog product. "A few leading mass merchandisers have been flirting with the $13 mark since late 2003 for catalog titles, but it now appears that all of the major mass retailers have begun to adopt lower pricing for these CDs," NPD Group president Russ Crupnick says in a statement.

With the holiday selling season kicking into high gear, the firm expects in-store pricing to be devalued even further. According to Crupnick, "it would not be surprising to see electronics retailers affected by mass retailers reducing prices for catalog titles -- or vice versa."

NPD's data are based on nearly 2,400 completed interviews from the firm's online consumer panel.