February 23rd, 2009


My first CD was either Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason or New Order’s Substance. The only one I was able to find the other day was Substance and it was missing the second disc. If memory serves, this CD was a gift from my parents around Christmas 1988 — making the disc over 20 years old. This album was played endlessly through my high school, college, and graduate school days. So how has it held up? Not so great. It’s scratched to the point of making some songs unplayable. But in terms of the structural integrity of the disc itself, it seems to be in pretty good shape. The disc hasn’t warped and there is no discoloration or signs of degradation from chemical instability. So I don’t think people need to start worrying about their CDs not being playable in 50 years. With a little care in handling, I think any CD should be fine for the long haul. Don’t know about CDRs though. I won’t be able to report on burnable CDs for another 15 years, but I’m not optimistic, since organic dyes are used and are more likely to become unstable over time.

I’m still a fan of CDs in the day and age of downloadable digital music. I like stuff, so the idea of downloading music has never caught on with me. That being said, I’m not the kind of consumer the music industry should be pinning their hopes on, since nearly all of the CDs I purchase these days are used.

Entry Filed under: Obsolete Technology

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