At the Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance writes about the creeping obsolescence of CDs (and DVDs) as well as the ways they deteriorate physically. “Recordable CDs—the kind you can burn or rewrite—tend to have more complicated degradation issues than their professionally-recorded counterparts. That’s partly because they’re made from organic dyes that break down faster, France told me. And as far as different kinds of discs go, CDs tend to be more stable than DVDs, mostly just because DVDs hold more data, so there’s more to lose.
But this kind of obsolescence has a way of creeping up on you. Even the researchers involved with CD preservation efforts at the Library of Congress say that academics started thinking about this kind of work later than they should have. ‘We really haven’t focused as much on 20th-century media because you just think there are multiple copies of things. People just assumed it’s more widely distributed.'”