Cd's NOT a safe backup media?

I’ve just been told this:

"CD and cdrw ROT!
They never made a big public stink about it but it has been published time and time again.
Even the most expensive name brands have had the problem. It is a chemical reaction inside the strata of the cd. Amplified by heat and light.
Even cds stored in their cases in a temp controlled environment, in the dark, will eventually suffer.

If you have ever seen one (music I keep in the car are great for this) just hold it up to the light and look for little pinholes all over the place. You start losing tracks until it no longer plays.

If you value your cd collection, transfer them all to a HD ASAP!
You can always burn a copy from there."

What’s the story here?

It sounds like a “red herring” to me, as I’ve known people that are CDFreaks that have stored their CD media in Cd/DVD wallets for 15 years and never had any trouble, under proper storage conditions. Sure, high humidity and/or storing them somewhere that’s not somewhat climate controlled will kill a media. There was one CDFreak from Singapore or somewhere that obviously had no A/c in the house, and the temp inside was 88F and 83% humidity (he had a fancy LCD temperature and humidity gauge), and it turned out he was able to buy something to keep his media drier, if he put it close enough to it (I think some kind of Silicon gel packs to absorb excess humidity, or something like that).

Sometimes some mids are low quality and should be avoided. However, good archival purpose mids are Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden, and perhaps some other good mids don’t have this problem. The conclusion is problematic, because it sounds to me like someone wanted people to invest in bigger HDs, and not post the whole truth of the matter. :frowning:

The story has an element of truth to it just like most other horror stories you hear and read in the media, because horror stories sell newspapers and ads on television, but the balanced truth does not.

It’s true that CD rot has ben known to happen, but it is very rare and not something you are likely to experience unless you are one of the unfortunate few who have some rare Audio CDs from the 1980s.

Burned CD-R and CD-RW media can deteriorate however, especially if exposed to direct sunlight for a long time or excessive heat and humidity, so you should try to keep your CD (and DVD) media away from such conditions.

From your responses guys, it seems there is an argument concerning this deterioration so maybe my original question should have been, which is “better” for storing music, cd’s or a hard drive?

A harddrive can crash and wipe out parts or all of your music in one fell swoop. After approximately 5 years you can consider yourself lucky every day that your harddisk stays alive.

CD-R media can degrade, especially if kept in sunlight or a very hot and humid environment, but if you buy quality CD-R media and store it in a reasonable environment, it should last for many years.

My oldest burned CD-Rs are at least 7 years old, and they show absolutely no sign of degradation.

Keep in mind that anything that’s important to you should exist in at least two copies on different media, so that you don’t lose the content if one piece of media goes bad or is damaged in some way.