Do music streaming subscriptions last for ever?

As I write that disc of Angela Hewitt playing Bach is on my CD player, and it sounds as transcendent as when I bought it in 1986. Norman Lebrecht has tried kicking up some click bait in a teacup by suggesting that CDs decay over time. Now let's leave aside that reports of CD decay are very rare, while his report tells us that three examples of the same CD exhibited decay. Which strongly suggests a batch manufacturing problem on that particular disc rather than endemic deterioration. Let's also leave aside that Norman has told us, to quote him, "Slipped Disc has a commercial relationship" with streaming service Idagio. Which brings into question the objectivity of his views on compact discs as an alternative to streaming. Instead let's turn our attention to the question of do CDs last for ever? The answer to that is simple. Nothing lasts forever. But CDs definitely endure far longer than Primephonics and other streaming services.


MarkAMeldon said…
Back in 1986/87, I briefly worked in a CD factory in West Sussex, the long-gone Disctronics. My job was setting index points on the digital master from the digital tape - many hours in a dark room with a fantastically expensive Sony machine with a very expensive pair of headphones listening for the 'ambient decay' on notes to end. Along with, I believe, PDO in Blackburn, there was a relatively short-term problem with the lacquer layer (for want of a better term) caused by poor materials. This allowed, over time, air to get to the foil layer, which then 'bronzed' (i.e. went rusty), eventually becoming unplayable.

IRRC, labels such as ASV, Pearl, Olympia, Hyperion, RCA, Unicorn-Kanchana, were particularly affected. Whilst some of these labels are long-gone, it is commendable that Hyperion will replace bronzed discs free of charge if you send them in. I found five such discs in my collection a short time ago and received replacement CD/CDR discs within a week.

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