CD-R burnout

As an old fart about ready for retirement, this little ditty appeared in the latest AARP magazine, dated March 2006:
"Popular CD-R and CD-RW discs used to "burn" digital photographs, videos, and songs for the long haul seem to have a crucial short-coming, says an IBM information storage expert: The discs, unlike pressed compact discs used for professionally produced music and video recordings, typically last only two to five years.

Physicist Kurt Gerecke says heat can degrade the recording surface of burned CD's, which makes the stored data "unreadable" by laser beams. His advice: Store photos and other keepsake data on magnetic tape, which can last 30 years. Or they can be archived on a computer hard drive with a high-quality disk bearing and a disk with 7,200 revolutions per minute"

What think you, Audiogonners', about this news?
So don't store them next to the furnace or in your oven!
I have discs, both music and data, I burned as long ago as 1998, and they're as good as new.
Hello Sid 42. I have reading this type of thing since the CD was invented. I think that there was a lot of variability in CD quality in the early days. Perhaps today too. As a result, deterioration has been observed. However, it may be that it was due to manufacturing and material quality more than any inherent deterioration. The best answer you may get at the moment is that nobody knows for sure whether CD's last "forever" because CD's haven't been around "forever".

I am not in the position to dispute the opinions of physicists and engineers who know more than me about such things. However, it is certainly true that poor environmental storage conditions will deteriorate anything eventually, including magnetic tape, so maybe a backup every once in a while wouldn't hurt, especially now that storage is inexpensive. I do not understand what difference a 7200 rpm hard drive makes, as opposed to 5400 rpm. As Nsgarch has suggested, you might want to keep your CDs away from extreme heat (or children with pointy objects). CDs can certainly melt or be physically damaged. I would also keep them out of direct sunlight since UV radiation does funny things to plastic type material.
I have Cd's from the mid-80's that are disintregrating. Here are some fun articles:

Also a lot of cheap CD-R's have extremely thin protective layers over the data layer and so must be handled with extreme care.
Not exactly an old wive's tale, but far from the truth. Many of mine are more than 5 years old and I've never had one go bad. But I do treat them with respect. Some CDRs are promoted as "archival" discs with hundred-year lifespans. In any event, I'd rate their survival chances better than that of mag tape -- some of my mag tapes ARE unplayable.
My experience with trying to preserve various kinds of digital data over the last 20 years or so is that the problem is almost always the obsolescence of the player, or the interface between the player and the output device, rather than the longevity of the medium. First there were floppies, then tape, then Syquest drives, then CD's, now DVD's and terabyte hard drives, probably some kind of solid-state memory is next, who knows?

We'll have to keep herding the bits from one medium to another as long as long as technology keeps changing, which means forever, and if you screw up and forget to transfer something it will wind up sitting on your shelf, perfectly intact, with no place to go.
I also have cheap recorded disks that still sound the day they were recorded. If really concerned and you have some keepsake material, then use some of the highly touted gold disks, such as the Mitsui MAM 80's only a $ a piece and they are supposed to be around when old farts are gone!
I think with pics and data, some CD-Rs may potentially not work in some computers years from now. It may depend on the speed used when they were recorded, type of software, type of drive, etc... With music though, it should not happen if you use good discs and take care of them. Just my opinion.
CDR discs and CD-RW discs I have in the car are still kicking but starting to have issues with MOST of them. Which is ok, I'll just burn another copy and throw them out.

But---- For my Archieved Vinyl, I fear problems in the future. Good thing I still have my vinyl.

das loon~
I must have 200 cassettes from 83-84,recorded off the radio and albums,been stored in garages since then off and on.The highs are a little muted,but sound fine.CD's since 90-something,recorded off the cassettes and originals and their just fine.Don't think they'll quit working tomorrow.Soon I'll get into the computer for another medium,whats next?We'll get there too.Dont really need a weatherman to know which way the winds blowing here in the land of milk and honey,bottoms up,its KP day!Bob
some discs have a 2 yr life span and others a 10 yr. Most discs made in japan [ mitsui, ty] have 10 yr.
download cdr identifer and it will tell you where and by whom your disc was made. It will also tell you if its long/short term.
I have had a few cdr's that started to be noisy/static after a few years ---- maybe it was a bad batch of blank cdr's , but after this, i wouldn't trust that all cdr's will last long term ........

On anything i may want to listen to in future years, i do not get rid of the pressed originals .......
There are several types of CD-Rs available, and the differences have to do with the type of organic "dye" used on the side which has the data written to it. Indeed, there are many cheap CD-Rs that will only last a couple of years before the dye, which has been burned into a series of "bump" and "no bump" areas, begins to lose it's integrity. The disc becomes difficult for the player mechanism to follow and eventually becomes untrackable. Some say that the degradation can be delayed by storing discs in a horizontal position, that probably helps but does not address the real issue.

However, all CD-Rs are not as subject to that problem. Most people purchase the "low bid" CD-R, which is why there are so many of them around, but there are significant differences in the products from various vendors. To really keep your music / pictures / data etc. intact it would be wise to purchase CD-R product from either Mitsui or Taio Yuden. These companies were the pioneers in organic dye used to make CD-Rs and they have done accelerated life testing on their discs. The blank discs are not cheap, and most consumer stores do not carry them, but they can be found online and from several pro-audio supply houses.
Your responses are all great. I personally have not had any problem with my discs; I just thought you guys might get a kick out of the drivel that seems to be floating around out there. As usual, time will tell. As for me, my hearing will probably go before the discs do!!!!!!!
Thanks to all of you.
The blank discs are not cheap, and most consumer stores do not carry them, but they can be found online and from several pro-audio supply houses.

Taiyo Yuden discs can be found in many stores. As long as the spindle says made in Japan you've found TYs.
Here's a link to a ComputerWorld article on the life span of recordable CDs. I don't think it's quite as bad as they say, but it sure isn't encouraging.

As for a few of the problems metioned above. Keeping CDRs in cars is asking for trouble. The heat, and even the light, are definitely bad for them. If you do this, have a spare locked away in a cool, dark place.

And the noise/static mentioned on older CD-Rs could be due to any writing on the disc. Unless it was done with a water based marker, the ink can eat through the protective coating and cause that effect. There are now inexpensive "Sharpies" available at many office supply stores that are made for made for marking CDRs.

BTW, here's a somewhat geekier article from ComputerWorld on how to keep important data. It recommends an old format called "tape".
I laugh at articles like the one you quote from above. I've been in the television and media duplication business for nearly 20 years. I've seen a wide variety of video and audio formats come and go. I record all my CD-Rs on a commercial Marantz or Denon CD recorder at 1x / real time speed. I have used various brands of blank CD disks over the years, but mostly have used Maxell and Tayo Yuden commercial CD-Rs, which I buy by the hundreds.
I usually keep copies of CDs I like in my cars, but rarely play original discs in them. Too much bumping around for my tastes. I have both CD-Rs and DVD-Rs that play every bit as good as the day I recorded them. Maybe it's because I use commercial CD and DVD recorders, not cheap computer drives to record my stuff. The simple fact that most people record discs at speeds higher than normal playback speed often leads to digital errors in the recordings, not to mention that most of the cheapie CD-Rs and DVD-Rs that most people buy are pure CRAP - often Q.C. rejects from the commercial manufacturing lines. (Bet you didn't know that did you - but it's TRUE!)
NEVER - EVER buy those "special" no-name discs from places like Fry's or Office Depot. They are all PURE CRAP.
As for tape being a better medium for storage, maybe that IBM guy should come and visit my studios some time. I would love to show him old 3/4", VHS, and Betamax tapes that are not only deteriorating after less than 20 years, but that exhibit traits such as "print thru" of adjacent scenes on video, audio dropouts, particle shedding and lots more I bet he's never seen.