Do CDs fall victim to laser rot?

I posted in an MPSIMS thread about my high school SO, Steve the Idiot, who claimed in 1987 that CDs would deteriorate, due to something called “laser rot”.

Anyone hear of this? Do CDs deteriorate at all? Did early CDs have such a pitfall? There may be some truth to this, but then, this was a guy who thought a radar trap was an actual trap that would impede the motion of a car, like a speed bump.

Yes, but don’t sweat about it. It takes quite a while (about as long as the average human lifespan, IIRC) for CD’s to deteriorate from the lasers.

Actually, not necessarily. Some early CDs from the 80s have been shown to exhibit “laser rot,” which is basically a fault of the manufacturing process, not a limitation of the format. This happened with early laser discs as well. All these kinks have been ironed out and it is no longer an issue. These “rotten” CDs are very rare, and if someone claims to hae one it is usually because of something they did and not true “laser rot.”

I see! Thank you.

I’ve never heard the term “laser rot” but I do know from personal experience that some old Laserdiscs exhibit degradation of the picture and sound. I heard it was due to the aluminum disk oxidizing through the plastic coating, eventually making the data unreadable. LD and CD are based on pretty much the same technology, so it is possible that early CDs had this problem. Considering the extremely low power of the laser, I very much doubt that it ever has anything to do with damaging a CD.

I believe Laserdisc is more susceptible to degradation because the disc stores an analog TV signal, not a digital signal like a CD.

All CDs have error correction technology so they can recover from small errors (e.g. a speck of dust on the disc), and data CDs have even more. The data is either there or it isn’t, it can’t slowly degrade like a Laserdisc.