Sony will close one of its biggest CD making factories due to the growth and popularity of digital downloads as well as other economic influences. Based in Pitman, New Jersey, the plant has been operating for 50 years and first produced vinyl records. When its doors close on March 31, nearly 300 people will be out of work.

At full capacity, the half-a-million square foot warehouse could manufacture 18 million CDs every month. While vinyl record sales have increased from 2008 to 2009 by nearly 33 percent, CD sales have dropped by 18 percent during the same time period, at 110.3 million in 2009.

At the same time, record company revenues fell by 7.2 percent in 2009 while digital music format sales grew by 9.2 percent, to $4.3 billion. Digital is now important enough in the US that iTunes is the largest provider of music in the US, ahead of Walmart and online-only rivals such as Amazon MP3. Apple currently holds two thirds of digital sales.