Your CDs might be going rotten
by Luke Ottenhof
February 10, 2017
Think you can hold onto your CDs forever? Think again. Studies have discovered that "disc rot" could be destroying them.
When I was in grade 5, I got REALLY into Linkin Park and Billy Talent. For my 10th birthday, I requested that all my friends buy me Linkin Park and Billy Talent CDs to fill the new bitchin’ Discman my parents had gotten me. From Hybrid Theory to Meteora, I wanted it all. Plus I had like, four copies of Billy Talent’s debut on CD. Why? I don’t know. As the years went on and I grew out of that stuff (there are still some bangers on BT1, though), they just kinda gathered dust, sitting safe on my shelf. I was always fearful I’d lose some self-control and dig them out for a nice nostalgic listen, and then be lost down a hole of renewed, genuine Linkin Park and BT fandom. Thankfully, they might be toast after all these years.
A report over at Motherboard suggests that aging digital discs might actually be prone to something they’re calling ‘disc rot,’ which presents as small discolourations or dots on your disc (hehe). A Library of Congress Preservation Specialist points out three forms it can take: “the ‘bronzing’ of discs, small pin-hole specs located on the disc, or ‘edge rot,'” which totally sounds like a really great new genre. It’s apparently produced by chemical corrosion, an oversight in the manufacturing practice that failed to account for longevity.
Your old DVDs, CDs and video games could be susceptible to this degradation. One blogger reports finding disc rot on factory-sealed products, so that unopened special edition DVD you held onto might be bunk, pal.