Do you still have a vast collection of CDs that you either still listen to or are hidden away somewhere? It turns out that those compact discs are now a collector’s item. In fact, the Library of Congress houses more than half a million CDs in their collection, and they are looking to preserve the quality of the compact discs so that they are able to last longer and still play. And you can preserve your CD collection too!
The Library of Congress’ compact disc collection includes everything you can think of. According to CBS News, there is even a lab that teaches researchers how to preserve them. They actually destroy the CDs and try to come up with new ways to maintain their preservation.
The first CD was released in 1982 (It was 52nd Street by Billy Joel, in case you were wondering!) Compact discs became wildly popular in the 80s and 90s, and millions of them were sold. But unfortunately, digital downloads started to replace CDs in the 2000s. (Digital downloads are great, but some of us actually miss the fact that CDs are a tangible form of music.)
So how long do CDs last? Well, that depends. There are so many factors that are involved with the longevity of a compact disc. Temperature, humidity, and other aging factors all play a role in how long the CD will last. Researchers at the Library of Congress actually mimic these conditions to accelerate the aging process in order to come up with ways to preserve the CDs. They found that different conditions affect compact discs in different ways.
To preserve your own collection of CDs, keep them in a cool, dry place in your home. Don’t stick on labels to the front of the CDs, and avoid writing on them with Sharpies. If you need to write on them, be sure to write with a CD marking pen on the small center piece in the middle of the disc. You can clean the discs with a very soft brush or a non-abrasive photographic lens tissue. Don’t use a circular motion when cleaning. Instead, brush from the center of the disc and outwards. Avoid exposing the CDS to sunlight or ultraviolet light. With some care, your CDs can last for decades to come!