Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The most durable recording medium is…

Here’s a question: what is the best and most reliable way to store music for the ages?  I’m talking decades and centuries. What’s the best recording medium as far as longevity goes?  Could it be the vinyl record?  Studies by IBM in Germany suggest that this is the way to go.

They found that CD-Rs–you know, the ones you burn on your computer–can start to degrade after as little as two years. By year five, they’re definitely starting to lose their ability to store information. Pre-recorded CDs last substantially longer–if they don’t warp and become corrupted with moisture between layers. Magnetic tape (like cassettes) can reliably last for up to a century.

But vinyl?  Well, vinyl is plastic and plastic is forever.  As long as you have a working turntable, you should be able to play your favourite vinyl records a thousand years from now–which is more than you can say for any other media.

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.

Alan Cross has 38138 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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