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Sony Media Technology

Sony Closing 18M CD/Month Plant 318

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the end-of-an-era dept.
coondoggie writes "Sony this week said it was shuttering one of its largest CD manufacturing plants — citing the impact of digital downloads and other economic issues. The plant, which has been in operation for some 50 years, first producing vinyl records, will close on March 31 and about 300 people will lose their jobs. The 500,000-square-foot warehouse began producing vinyl LPs in 1960 and moved to CD manufacturing in 1988. At its capacity, the plant was making 18 million CDs per month, according to its website."
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Sony Closing 18M CD/Month Plant

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  • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#34848780)

    That's a stunning amount of plastic waste and manufacturing process waste no longer being generated.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:50AM (#34848894) Journal

      Don't be fooled. The summary says nothing of the sort.

      It says it's "Shuttering" the plant - a clever mind game to make you think they mean "Shutting Down" but they are actually just installing new blinds for the windows. It says that on March 31 it will "Close" - they probably just mean locking up for the night. On April 1 they might "ReOpen". 300 people will lose their jobs? They didn't say who, when, or where, it was only implied at the plant, but its not really specific enough to be sure. They could mean just 300 people in general will lose their job. A very low-ball estimate, if you ask me.

    • by hildi (868839) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:01PM (#34849074)
      a CD manufacturing plant in a country with an actual working EPA is far, far better for the environment than the toxic waste dump that we are creating in China right now,where environmental activists get thrown in prison as 'enemies of the state'. . Thats what we do to make all of these iphones, ipads, iwhatever, which seem to get thrown out every 2 years for the 'new generation'. Close your eyes, stick your head in the sand, pretend that magic fairys give you printed circuit boards. also, where do you think the energy comes from to power the servers for downloads? it ain't some wind farm. i don't see any "renewable offset purchasing" logo on the apple istore. that 'clean tech' is powered by dirty, dirty coal dug out from the innards of a mountain and burned in a giant plant that pours smoke into the air
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:06PM (#34849142) Homepage

      It's a staggering amount for a single factory - enough to supply AOL for about three days!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:22PM (#34849402)

      Hey Slashdot, why do you let these schills come here to make money from you?

      Submitted by... Coondoggie. The blog this links to is run by Michael Cooney. Hmmmm.

      Well Mr. Cooney, just as the comments on your ad-revenue blog say, you have failed to mention the location of the plant. Then instead of providing us with the link to your "source", you link us to your site to generate hits.

      You sir, are a hack.

      Here's the actual news story:
      http://www.philly.com/inquirer/business/homepage/20110112_Sony_will_close_South_Jersey_CD_plant.html

  • obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#34848782) Homepage

    "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of rootkits suddenly cried out in terror."

  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:47AM (#34848846)
    I was in Walmart a month ago looking for two CD's that I wanted to purchase. Neither was particularly obscure, and both were recent (released within the last year). They had neither, and actually I couldn't believe how small their selection was compared to what it used to be. I understand the convenience of downloading via Walmart or Amazon, but what I can't understand is why people wouldn't actually want to have a bit-perfect digital copy on physical medium as a back up.
    • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:49AM (#34848878) Homepage

      What I don't understand is why people are surprised when shelf-space in a retail store is no longer given to a product that doesn't sell well. I know it seems weird ordering a physical CD online, but at this point, that's the best place to go from both an availability and price standpoint...depending on shipping, of course.

      • That makes me wonder about a lot of things. I always see furniture at Wal Mart, but I've never seen anyone purchase it. Does that sell nearly as well - or is there just enough markup to make the profits reasonable when it does?

        • by Moryath (553296)

          Where do you think all the broken crap furniture on the side of highways comes from, if not yokels buying it at wally-mart and poorly strapping it to the back of their truck before driving off?

        • by spxero (782496)

          I've seen it purchased, but I live in a college town. Twice a year Mommy and Daddy come in to decorate junior's dorm room on the cheap, and the rest of the year it sits.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          I was in a Wal-Mart shortly after we moved into our current apartment. I was just looking for a tv-tray type dealie while we saved up for a decent table (we blew most of our "new furniture" fund on a kick-ass TV. Given the amount of netflix we watch and video games we play, it was a worthwhile investment :)) While I was there, I saw this long black poofy thing that looks like one of those single-seater gamer chairs, except you could adjust it. So I figured, what the hell, and bought it. Well, no surpri

      • Maybe not exactly surprised, more dismayed. If something only has say 3 years "sales life" but the copyright on it lasts for some 90 years, that's dismaying.

      • Yeah, Amazon is my preferred music store, with the exception of indie acts I like that sell directly on their own websites.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        What I don't understand is why they don't sell well. Do so few people have decent speakers? Is everyone listening to earbuds these days?

        If you want to see how dramatic the difference between an MP3 and a CD can be, sample a tape or an LP and burn it to disk, then rip your disk to CD. All the analog artifacts are GREATLY magnified in the MP3.

    • by memojuez (910304) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:50AM (#34848892)
      I too prefer to order CDs and rip my own MP3
      • This is great until you have to move and you find out your "record" collection is boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff you haven't pulled out in ages.

        • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:20PM (#34849368) Homepage Journal

          That's why I rip my CDs and store them in other people's houses. Amazon has a great system for this - you put your CD up and someone gives you $1.99 and you ship it to them and they store it for you.

          Then someday, maybe years down the road, if you ever need that CD back (though it hasn't happened yet) you can just send someone on amazon $1.99 and they'll send you your CD back (or one just like it).

          That's a fair storage fee for several years of maintaining your hard copy backup.

          To double the safety of this backup system, you can also make a bit-perfect backup copy on a 15 cent blank CD. That way you have on-site and off-site backup, and you never pay for the storage fee unless you need it back - more like a recovery fee.

          I store my hardcopies in the cloud! :P

        • The CDs are at least a vast improvement on vinyl in this and various other regards.
          I rip in FLAC instead of MP3 like memojuez - as it's hard to find non-lossy legal downloads for many things, this is at least a minor reason

          A lot of my digital collection consists of CDs I borrowed from others; that combined with some downloads means that my aversion to non-physical media is decreasing somewhat.

          Though I mostly listen to the digital collection, some of the physical discs get pulled out fairly often

        • I concur. I'd already started doing MP3 downloads before my last move, but after moving I switched exclusively to them soon after. All my CDs are in a few boxes in my mum's loft, I have no CDs at my place.

          A lot of my bedroom is taken up by DVDs and blu-rays though. We're starting to get enough space to reasonably rip all this stuff at a decent quality, but I really can't be bothered yet. I suspect I'll end up just torrenting them all, or using an HD streaming service for all my movie needs. I have SD stream

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Boy, kids today ARE lazy, aren't you? I have boxes and boxes of BOOKS that haven't been read in decades. The LPs are pretty heavy, but not nearly as bad as the books. Compared to books and LPs, CDs and cassettes take up little room and weight very little.

          The not pulling out physical media in ages is great until your hard drive dies and you have no backups for your media.

      • I did the same thing until iTunes started offering non-drmed files, and I've never bought a physical CD since.

        • by sremick (91371)

          Non-DRMed, but still lossy. CDs give you an immediate physical backup and a high-quality original source for making your own lossy-compressed media files.

      • Hard drive space is cheap. I use FLAC.

    • I had the aversion to non-physical media for quite a while..but like most I have found digital to be acceptable in quality (for me music is mostly for background noise and even with headphones a higher bit-rate sounds "good enough" for me). With a little redundancy in the home network the "collection" is assured to last. The biggest hurdle for me was will an MP3 be playable 20 years from now...but after thinking about it, the likelihood of being able to play a digital based format is probably much higher

      • Yep. You might have trouble buying a working CD player in 50 years, but even if MP3s are a disused format, someone will have written an emulator.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        AS long as it's a NON DRM format that you can convert to the new formats, Yes.

        And I am finding some artists are enlightened and offering the M3's as 320VBR on Amazon.com or as FLAC from them directly. The last digital Album I bought was in a mp4 format with a static single Frame video track and AC3 audio at full bitrate and 5.1 surround. AS there is no "free" format for higher than CD quality and multitrack, artists are re-purposing Video tracks for distribution.

        It was recorded live at Burningman at the Dr

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        the likelihood of being able to play a digital based format is probably much higher than being able to play a physical one, how many 8-track, turntable or cassette players do you see these days?

        I have a cassette player (a good one), and many tapes I have that are 40 years old sound as good as a new CD.

        I have a few LPs that are close to 3/4th of a century old, and the ones that have been treated well sound better than CDs.

        But yeah, there will be a time that those perfectly good cassettes (the ones that survi

    • I was in Walmart a month ago looking for two CD's that I wanted to purchase. Neither was particularly obscure, and both were recent (released within the last year). They had neither, and actually I couldn't believe how small their selection was compared to what it used to be.

      Walmart is having to compete with somebody bigger than they are - the whole of the Internet. Walmart has to stock things that sell well. They can't waste shelf space on something that isn't going to sell quickly. You can easily get just about any CD you can imagine from an online retailer, usually for a price comparable to Walmart. They can't compete with that kind of selection.

      I understand the convenience of downloading via Walmart or Amazon, but what I can't understand is why people wouldn't actually want to have a bit-perfect digital copy on physical medium as a back up.

      Most folks don't even contemplate backups. It would never occur to them to make a backup of an MP3.

      Many digital download servi

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      Bit perfect? Most people listen to their CDs on a player, or rip them to a lossy format. I haven't found one player yet that can guarantee bit-perfect playback. The CD format was designed to allow for errors in the stream. You introduce errors in A/D and D/A conversion anyway, even if the only analog portion is the singer's autotuned voice. Try hex-editing a wav file and flipping a few bits here and there. With 16-bit audio, most of those bits are insignificant and you'l never notice unless you alter

    • I can't understand is why people wouldn't actually want to have a bit-perfect digital copy on physical medium as a back up.

      Are you serious? Most people have no idea what that even means.

      I do know what it means, but I don't particularly care right now. I'm happy with ~192kbps MP3 or higher, and also I'm happy with the idea of in another few years (when probably even our phones will be able to hold all of our music uncompressed) downloading FLAC filled torrents of these legally bought albums to put in my collection. It may be illegal to do so, but I don't think it would be immoral. I've already done something similar when I could

  • Silly title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:51AM (#34848908)

    "Sony Closing Plant 18M/CD/Month Plant"

    Aside from two Plants...

    18 Million Per Cd Per Month?

    • Of course not, silly man! This article is clearly about how Mr Closing who works for Sony is planting a plant that grows at a rate of 18 meters per candela per month!

    • Dimensional Analysis for Nerds. Stuff that Matters. (I noticed the same thing.)
    • They failed to understand the mythical CD-Month. When will managers ever learn you can't just keep throwing more optical disks at a task and expect to get it done faster.

    • by arcsimm (1084173)
      It's not wrong, it's just what the RIAA thinks it's owed when someone pirates a CD.
  • Or is it ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:53AM (#34848934)

    ... because nobody trusts [slashdot.org] Sony CDs?

  • He's directly responsible for these job losses.

  • Bigger news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:56AM (#34849004)
    300 people are responsible for making 18 million CDs/month. I saw another story about a sleeping bag factory cranking out 20 million bags a year with 500 empoloyees for the whole company. I read somewhere that American manufacturing capacity is the highest it's ever been. What are we going to do with all these people. I keep hearing 'Well, the world needs ditch diggers too'. No, no it doesn not... I guess we can let them starve to death in the streets.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I keep hearing 'Well, the world needs ditch diggers too'. No, no it doesn not... I guess we can let them starve to death in the streets.

      That's what it looks like the plan is so far. They might be planning a war, though, and then having lots of disaffected wanderers means you'll have more willing conscripts. Historically overpopulation is controlled by war and/or disease. I don't see any reason for that to change now.

      • Wasn't life supposed to get better? Our parents fondly hoped we wouldn't have to work as hard. But somehow, all these massive increases in productivity haven't enabled us to cut the work week back. There is a back door way of cutting the work week. Increase unemployment.

        Affluence seems to be controlling overpopulation quite well. Which is exactly the opposite of expectations. How is it that kids have become such huge liabilities? All this wealth, but we don't want to afford children.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Save the buggy whip makers! They're real craftsmen!

    • by vlm (69642)

      300 people are responsible for making 18 million CDs/month. I saw another story about a sleeping bag factory cranking out 20 million bags a year with 500 empoloyees for the whole company.

      Its entertaining to try and figure out how I'd do it... Thats a CD every 1/10 second 24 hours/day. I'm assuming this place is a stamp plant. None the less, going burners, I'd get 100 cd burners per person and give a person a 100 cdr blank tower stack and tell them to fill the burners. You need about twenty lines to keep up. That gives you about 5 minutes to burn, verify, and load. To staff a single 24/7 position for very long term in the military we always assumed about 6 people. So thats about 120 pe

    • 300 people are responsible for making 18 million CDs/month. I saw another story about a sleeping bag factory cranking out 20 million bags a year with 500 empoloyees for the whole company. I read somewhere that American manufacturing capacity is the highest it's ever been. What are we going to do with all these people. I keep hearing 'Well, the world needs ditch diggers too'. No, no it doesn not... I guess we can let them starve to death in the streets.

      Technology, at its most basic form, is a labor saving device. That's the whole idea behind all of this... Amplify the amount of work that an individual human being can do. And that means you need less human beings to do the work.

      Offshoring isn't really helping things either. There may very well be jobs out there for those 300 people... But they're not in the US.

    • All relates to the future economic world is gonna be like no one expected, China , India are really gonna suffer in terms of development, you need less and less people to do more and more stuff, the days of production lines with 10 of 1000's are coming to an end. There will not be the numbers of employment in manufacturing need, not just for the US, Europe but for the 800 million strong workforces of China and India, interesting times ahead.
    • Maybe they meant UNUSED capacity?

      A piggy bank that's full with pennies COULD be said to have no more capacity. An empty one has far more capacity.

    • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

      The same thing we did with blacksmiths, cart makers, whale fishermen, tallow makers, court jesters, lectors, elevator operators, etc...

  • 18 million per CD per month? those are quite expensive discs...

  • That's nothing. AOL mailed out at least 20 million per month.

  • Good riddance!

    The most reliable storage media is still magnetic tape [wikipedia.org].

    Incidentally my 10.5in reel mp3 player needs a new backpack...

    • by jd (1658)

      Actually, the most reliable storage medium is core memory. Magnetic tape is merely the most reliable storage medium that's also useful.

  • No more Sony dumping their byproducts into our ecosystem, its a win-win
  • Let's cite the impact of producing less plastic items! I understand people worked there; still, people can be retrained (I suggest, to work in solar/wind manufacturing plants)... CD plastic, however, represents raped biodiversity; something we all rely on.
  • Crappy article. (Score:5, Informative)

    by msauve (701917) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:10PM (#34849188)
    The plant which is closing is in Pitman, NJ [nj.com]. The article never bothered to mention which plant. Whatever happened to the basics of reporting - who/what/where/why/when?
    • by vlm (69642)

      The plant which is closing is in Pitman, NJ [nj.com]. The article never bothered to mention which plant. Whatever happened to the basics of reporting - who/what/where/why/when?

      not to be harsh, but probably only 300 people (plus extended family) care, vs 1 billion english readers on the internet.

    • by boristdog (133725)

      Exactly. First thing I tried to find out is where this plant was located.

      Everyone in the article comments complained about the same thing. Good journalism is dying.

    • by cashman73 (855518)
      It's not like it's the promised land or anything. It's just New Jersey! ;-)
    • /I/propose/to/use/slashes/everywhere/to/make/posts/and/titles/more/readable/and/accurate/!/./

  • by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:30PM (#34849528)

    Is it possible to buy music online without lossy compression? On the basis of my admittedly limited search, on-line music all seems to be compressed using lossy algorithms. CDs (jazz, classical, fine recordings, etc.) provide such uncompressed/lossless source.

    I'd like to have archival quality for the source music. Also, when playing discretely instrumented classical music on a good hi-fi, compression artifacts are sometimes noticeable.

  • by MrLint (519792)

    So Sony promised us that when production ramps up prices on CDs would drop. Since this really didn't happen, now that production is ramping down will prices go down?

  • I'm only 22 and I prefer CDs at this point because they are Lossless and DRM-free. Though if digital distribution can provide me with lossless and DRM-free tracks I would not have a problem using that method.

    Though I usually buy used CDs off places like Amazon for about $5 a disk so I also believe digital distribution needs to be cheaper as well as better quality if I am to start using it.

    The plastic really is a waste seeing as I generally rip that CD to my server once and then never use the physical disk

  • I guess Sony root kits aren't selling as well these days.

  • Could always consider dropping the price to something resembling the cost of duplication + reasonable markup. But oh no, they would rather die.

  • So is this the infamous Sony DADC plant that was a prime source of laserdiscs with Laser Rot [google.com] problems?

    If so, then good riddance.

  • But, I bet I buy more CDs than most huge music fans. I have friends who brag about having not bought music in 5-10 years. Take the compensation out of the market and you end up with corporate factory musicians backed by accountants. Buy those CDs either at the concerts or in the stores and keep the music industry strong.

  • Kind of glad I didn't. I know a bunch of people who will be out of work now.

  • I'm surprised no on has connected the dots yet, but ever since the downfall of AOL this plants ultimate demise has been as predictable as the tides.

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