Sony Blames Digital Downloads for Closing 50 Year Old CD Factory

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Sony Blames Digital Downloads for Closing 50 Year Old CD Factory

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The final death knell for the CD format may be ringing as Sony closes a factory that used to produce 18 million CDs each month.

The factory in Pitman, NJ will close on March 31st, putting about 300 people out of a job. Sony claimed recession woes were a part of the reason for the closing, but the announcement also mentioned the rise of digital downloads from iTunes and Amazon as a major factor in shuttering the 500,000-square-foot facility. The Pitman plant stared out making vinyl albums for Columbia Records in 1961 before shifting gears to produce CDs in 1988, but audio CD sales slipped 18 percent from 2008 to 2009 while digital revenues for record companies continue to grow. In order to combat that shift, Sony will reportedly consolidate much of its manufacturing arm (Sony DADC) at its plant in Terra Haute, Indiana. One might think that DVD production would keep the plant functioning, but Sony eliminated 180 jobs by ceasing to make DVDs there last year.

"In light of the current economic environment and challenges facing the physical-media industry, Sony DADC is taking additional steps to reduce cost from our supply chain network in order to remain competitive," the announcement read.

CDs were once the catch-all format for music and games, and Sony made a mint by using a CD drive with the original PlayStation. But as the PS2 and all subsequent consoles moved to DVD (or Blu-Ray) it was inevitable that CD factories either changeover production to the better formats or risk closure.

Years from now, people will be scraping through the rubble of 21st century civilization and find a treasure trove of shiny plastics disks. Some future archaeologists will make the leap in logic and declare that these disks might have been used to store different forms of media. Educated people might understand that these primitive disks held just enough information to power our game machines and movie boxes, but not many will realize that the disks began in the 1980s only storing 72 minutes worth of music.

"Isn't it great," the future hipster will remark as he places a disk into his retro-DIY Discman. "The only way to listen to music is to carry these huge mechanical readers around with you and have the music shot into your ears with these foam muffs. Screw Skynet. Listening to an aural implant connected to the 'Net is for chumps."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

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CDs finally fall? Well that's... sad.

I mean I do use them a lot less than DVDs but I use them nonetheless. I guess it's time to preserve those CDs I still have as the bells toll...

That's a sobering way to look at it. We're not on the cutting edge of technology; we're just the hipsters of the future, today.

Is it really only Digital Downloads that did this?

The PS3 uses Blu-Rays not CD/DVDs.

Unless factories like that make Blu-Rays too, in which case my argument is invalid!

*buys cds* kk I'm good...

No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

Why did't they just progress to making DVD's and Blu rays?

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

And guess what, we had a bit of an economic decline the last few years and i didn't buy cds for about 2 years. I used to buy about 2 or 3 a month, but food and housing has a bit higher priority.
Sony and other big companies fail to understand that i can only spend my money once, if that "once" means mortage and food, and not cd or dvd it is not piracy, just less sales due to circumstances.
Shutting down this factory might be a good thing, looking into other means of distribution can be more profitable because there is no need for a physical carrier anymore to transfer the information from the producer to the customer.

Im surpised, considering they just shut down the last floppy disk factory last year.

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

Why buy an entire CD when you can buy only the tracks you want digitally? The article states that digital sales have increased since the decline in disc sales. I can't play a CD on my ipod, so why would I buy one?

yundex:

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

Why buy an entire CD when you can buy only the tracks you want digitally? The article states that digital sales have increased since the decline in disc sales. I can't play a CD on my ipod, so why would I buy one?

Digital sales have increased yes.... but that's not making up the difference in revenue. The industry is still in decline. In 2009, total revenue was down 13.8% from 2008, which is on top of the 14% decline in revenue from 2007-2008. And out of 115,000 records released in 2009, only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........who cares?

danpascooch:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........who cares?

Well the 300 people who'll lose their jobs, probably.

chemicalreaper:

yundex:

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

Why buy an entire CD when you can buy only the tracks you want digitally? The article states that digital sales have increased since the decline in disc sales. I can't play a CD on my ipod, so why would I buy one?

Digital sales have increased yes.... but that's not making up the difference in revenue. The industry is still in decline. In 2009, total revenue was down 13.8% from 2008, which is on top of the 14% decline in revenue from 2007-2008. And out of 115,000 records released in 2009, only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies...

Piracy has been around since before 2007, also, the steady decline kind of matches up perfectly to our descent into a major recession.

So yeah, maybe it's just that people are buying less of things because they have less money, don't be so quick to blame piracy.

chemicalreaper:

yundex:

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

Why buy an entire CD when you can buy only the tracks you want digitally? The article states that digital sales have increased since the decline in disc sales. I can't play a CD on my ipod, so why would I buy one?

Digital sales have increased yes.... but that's not making up the difference in revenue. The industry is still in decline. In 2009, total revenue was down 13.8% from 2008, which is on top of the 14% decline in revenue from 2007-2008. And out of 115,000 records released in 2009, only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies...

I would expect total sales to decline, because i'm not buying a lady gaga CD for $15 when I can just buy the 3 tracks I like for $3.

chemicalreaper:

danpascooch:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........who cares?

Well the 300 people who'll lose their jobs, probably.

That's progress, how many people do you think have been hired to build and maintain the digital marketplaces that have replaced these discs?

Probably a shitload more than 300.

Soon every form of media will only be digitally distributed, just you watch. It's going to be Apple's fault.

Ahh, the circle of life.

It seems only yesterday that I was buying a game for my original Playstation, unwrapping the plastic, and then getting high on the new CD smell. Now I do the same thing for Blu-ray discs

Oh, those were the days.

Someday the CD will be completely eradicated, and I will say "Good night, sweet disc" as a reference to something I have no idea about.

And yes, we are just the future hipsters today.

That's one more run-down empty factory building in jersey. Ain't the future great?

CD's aren just doing it anymore. At least DVD please.

chemicalreaper:

danpascooch:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........who cares?

Well the 300 people who'll lose their jobs, probably.

But it's a golden age for the Repo business. One that shall never end...

OT: I haven't bought a CD for myself in over 2 years, and even then I rarely bought them. I get all my stuff through iTunes et al. If I did get a CD I'd only rip it to my iPod any way.

To be honest it's progress. The format is becoming outdated.

Digital downloads? Why must companies blame a single factor on why things fail. Digital downloads may have played a part in the closure but aren't necessarily the ONLY factor.

Digital downloads.
Major economic decline for the last few years.
Piracy.
Music DVDs featuring full live shows and additional extras.
Overpricing. Some still the same price as they were ten years ago.

And they pushed through BluRay while DVD is still a better format for most people since few can afford to update their TVs to HD and buy a BluRay player to go with it. And with DVD re-writers becoming more affordable and a standard on most new model PCs; it was inevitable.

Well, just as long as VHS's are still in production.

Sony is so full of shit. Its not half obvious to anyone with half a brain that they are looking to make blu ray the one and only. It can only be done by killing off existing formats, just wait, next it'll be a dvd factory.

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

LOL. That was the same claim in 1998. Over a decade ago now. So rampant it took like a decade.

The fact is, there are fewer demands for CDs for multiple reasons.

Another sobering truth we face today is that our technology is running side to side without going forward.

Am I missing something??? CDs were only an idea in the 60s and they weren't even popular until the 80s. The factory might be 50 but the CD is not. Unless I just came out of a 20 year coma.

I remember when 8-tracks were still in use. I never could figure them out entirely or why they were called 8 track when you could only select four. As new tech comes along, the old stuff ends up in the dust.
I am gonna be buried with my cd collection though. Might even have enough to make a pretty thick big urn out of after constructive melting. Shiny.

Logic 0:
Another sobering truth we face today is that our technology is running side to side without going forward.

Considering we have a format now that is more durable, holds a hell of a lot more data and a longer life-span than that shiny disc of plastic, I wouldn't say we aren't advancing.

Orly? It's all digital downloads? Not Sony's massive over pricing of CD's? Not with their insistence that Blu Ray and DVD is the way to go? Not that they include rootkits on their CD's that are so well built it takes an expert to remove them? And even then there's no guarantee of damage.

Piracy, not digital downloads, makes slightly more sense. But it would still be excuses for poor company practices. And I'm one of those people who actually _like_ Sony gear besides the Playstation. :p

It's still a shame though, I like my CD collection.

Greg Tito:
Years from now, people will be scraping through the rubble of 21st century civilization and find a treasure trove of shiny plastics disks. Some future archaeologists will make the leap in logic and declare that these disks might have been used to store different forms of media. Educated people might understand that these primitive disks held just enough information to power our game machines and movie boxes, but not many will realize that the disks began in the 1980s only storing 72 minutes worth of music.

A bit of trivia: The "shiny plastic discs" began in the late 70's in the form of laserdiscs. CD's were based off of laserdisc technology.
(Don't jump all over me. I'm not saying OP is wrong. That'd be splitting hairs.)

I wonder how many people here are now looking up "what is a laserdisc?"

acturisme:
Am I missing something??? CDs were only an idea in the 60s and they weren't even popular until the 80s. The factory might be 50 but the CD is not. Unless I just came out of a 20 year coma.

Yes, you missed the middle of the 1st paragraph that explained they started out making vinyl albums in the 60's and then converted to CD's in the 80's.

chemicalreaper:
No, what Sony needs to blame for the closure of its factory is rampant piracy, not digital downloads. People just aren't buying much music anymore -- and if there's little to no music to sell on discs, then the consequence is no demand for discs to be manufactured.

Question wouldn't pirates mostly use black CDs to play ripped games and music on devices like a legit product?

I blame youtube, partially. Audiophiles aside, most people can't really distiguish between youtube sound quality and cd quality- or, at least, don't especially mind the difference.

Not that the decine of "physical" music bothers me too much- clunky, fragile things, CDs, and we're better off without them. Or, rather, will be when fast internet is a standard amongst all households.

Daemascus:
Im surpised, considering they just shut down the last floppy disk factory last year.

Difference is this isn't the last CD factory, theres still one in india

Maybe I'm just old, but I remember getting my first CD. Kinda sad to see them phase out, even if they are old technology.

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