Ongoing History Daily: Tape and CD rot

I think it goes without saying that we as a species would like to preserve our music forever and ever, right? But here’s the question: what format will last the longest?

It’s certainly not magnetic tape. Archivists in the UK found a strange and powerful mold that can creep from tape to tape like a virus, eating and destroying everything as it goes.

And it’s certainly not CDs and DVDs. There’s something called “laser rot” which is a form of corrosion. It happens once the aluminum reflective surface squished between those layers of plastic becomes oxidized. You know your disc has gone bad when that reflective surface turns brown. Once that happens, you’re done.

So what’s the best physical storage medium for music? For the moment, it’s still vinyl.

Thursday’s post was on the album leak.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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