Storing audio for long, long periods of time isn’t as easy as we once thought. For example, about a dozen years ago, the UK found they had to deal with something called “tape rot.” A strange mold–a little white dust–is contaminating and destroying thousands and thousands of kilometres of magnetic audio and videotape. It’s so virulent that if you get a speck on your finger from a contaminated tape and touch another tape, you’ve just pooched it.
It’s become so bad that archives and libraries and other places where tape is stored are implementing measures that wouldn’t be out of place in a Level 4 containment lab.
No one is sure where this mold came from, but Britain’s damp weather certainly didn’t help. More next time.