As if we didn’t know, Sony threw a heaping helping of dirt onto CD’s grave when it announced the closing of what used to be one of their primary CD manufacturing plant in Pittman, New Jersey. According to reports in Plastics News and Network World at full production the plant churned out 18 million CDs in a month. Now it’s excess capacity that’s no longer needed.
All the lonely CD buyers, where did they all go? Looks as if they’ve all gone over to downloads, unfortunately for their musical souls, consumers are primarily buying compressed downloads. According to Bob Iger, Disney’s new CEO, from an interview on the Charlie Rose Show “People are still buying [discs]. … They’re just not buying as many of them,” Iger said. “And the primary reason, I would argue, is that they have other things to do.” I suspect these other things to do don’t involve disc-based formats.
Celebrity access reported that the iTunes Store had sold over five million Beatles songs and more than a million albums. “Here Comes the Sun” is the best-selling song. Funny, I’m listening to that right now from a 44.1/24 FLAC that I converted into an AIFF via Amarra’s FLAC conversion utility so I could include the Beatles catalog in my iTunes library. As far as music goes, the entire Beatles catalog in 44.1/24 is as close to a “killer app” as I’ve ever heard in this lifetime. Once I start listening, it’s hard to drag myself away…and it came from a USB drive. No CDs involved.
Finally, back in big bad gazillion-dollar cloud computing bizniz, with Spotify signing distribution deals with Sony and EMI it looks as if they’re poised for their own assault on the empire on Amazon and The Apple iTunes Store with a Spotify subscription-streaming service that will, of course, first be available only in Europe, and features a pretty darn decent catalogue of music. Will it produce in income stream sufficient to monetize it adequately? The future will tell.