Why are CD's decling in quality?

When CD came out in the 80's , they were marketed as 'indestructible'. They were built in such a way that they were almost impervious to any scratches and other damage.
As time went on, they declined in quality to the point that you could buy a cd and find it skipped on the first playing. Now many CD's I buy in the 21st Century seem to be incredibly vulnerable to damage. This is very frustrating.
.Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts on this topic?
Or knowledge of why this has come about
I actually have not experienced what you describe ... I have CDs from 1986 (the first year I purchased CDs that look and play like they did the day I bought them. The only issue I have had with skipping on first play seems related to the transport/player not the CD. Lasers get slightly misaligned and everything goes haywire.
Not sure what to make of your experience. I've not noticed any increased propensity for damage to cds. I buy mostly classical music, wonder if that is a factor (are production facilities the same for different genres of music)?
I have to say I have never had the experience you describe. Perhaps its your player that is weak, at fault here? I have had a total of 3 CD players, none do what you have seen. Started with the original Proceed player, then a Marantz CD/SACD, then final is a Luxman CD/SACD D06. I have CDs from before I had a CD player (that's what caused the jump to digital, music I wanted was not on LP) up to this week, never had this issue. I have several thousand discs, many genres.
They are quite durable but not indestructible. The
designers did a very good job with the technology of the
time (which has improved vastly since) for CDs to still be
where they are 30 years later.

How many gadgets designed 30 years ago are still relevant
and so widepsread?
I have not found the quality of the modern CD disk to be inferior over time. That said, buying prerecorded CDRs is a different story; it's buyer beware.
But, I think others will share my practice of treating a CD as I treat my vinyl, with kid gloves.
I'll join the chorus of others here. I have hundreds of CDs of all vintages and have had zero problems with them. In fact Red Book sounds wonderful in my system and I'm glad they're still widely available.
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Polycarbonate has always been used for the clear layer in CDs so newer CDs should not be more liable to wear and tear than older CDs.
ok thank you for the replies. I guess the problem is cdp related, well just bought the ARC mk3cdII so Ill soon know I guess, it will replace my pioneer transport which is old and broke down twice though I liked it a lot,
Elizabeth, great suggestion, I do care for the cds and did find try to keep them clean , perhaps a soft brush will help
Also listen to classical and have the same problem.
As to Redbook cds How do you know if a cd is redbook or not?
I think in the beginning of the CD they used 1 laser. You could do most anything to the disc because only one laser was doing the tracking. Now I think they use multi lasers and lots of error correction because of it. I remember they said these things would not skip, now all they do is skip if not taken care of. Similar to a vinyl record if you put you hands all over them.
At some point all CD's, DVD's, LD's, etc will deteriorate.
The reality is, like anything else, they just don't last
forever. But should last a very very long time.

Some environmental factors will speed up their demise
however. And this may be what you are encountering.
Especially anything in sunny rooms and hot/cold temperature
changes. Also just handling them, bending them slightly
(over and over and over through the years) can eventually
damage them or cause the layers to start to come apart
inside I'd imagine (small enough to not be visible to the

Laser Discs have been deteriorating faster it seems. They
had a real bad rot problem years ago where they went bad
much faster. It might have been a quality control thing I
don't remember but it did just speed up what was going to
happen eventually anyway.

Remember this stuff is just aluminum sandwiched between
plastic. Which is very durable but can and will deteriorate.
That can also depend on how good the quality of
manufacturing and materials were when it was made. These
days everything is so dang cheap. Made in china to save
every cent they can. Nothing is made to last. The skimp and
take shortcuts on everything. I wouldn't doubt you get bad
CD's from time to time right out of the box.
Courtesy Wikipedia:

"Many early LDs were not manufactured properly; sometimes a substandard adhesive was used to sandwich together the two sides of the disc.[citation needed] The adhesive contained impurities that were able to penetrate the lacquer seal layer and chemically attack the metalized reflective aluminium layer, causing it to oxidize and lose its reflective characteristics. This was a problem that was termed "laser rot" among LD enthusiasts, also called "color flash" internally by LaserDisc-pressing plants. Some forms of laser rot could appear as black spots that looked like mold or burned plastic which cause the disc to skip and the movie to exhibit excessive speckling noise. But, for the most part, rotted discs could actually appear perfectly fine to the naked eye.

Later optical standards have been known to suffer similar problems, including a notorious batch of defective CDs manufactured by Philips-DuPont Optical at their Blackburn, Lancashire facility in England during the late 1980s/early 1990s."
KAcz HEvac, etc

I think it is in the quality of materials and manufacture,
after all in the 80 s the discs were made thicker, the ones I have from then still work fine. It's not my environment, which is a normal home one for them
However, newer ones and it seems to me the newer the worse they are , do skip and as you say they have become like vinyl records. Which were horrible in that regard.
The selling of cds in the 80's focused on people' s frustration with LP's , the scratch and the skipping, were so common and difficult to counter act the effects of, since the CD was supposed to eliminate all that , CD's took off in popularity, that is one reason anyway.
The manufacturers at the time , applied reason to their actions and made the discs of higher quality, That is my opinion anyway based on experience.
Now they have us, Or did till ipods took over, they started making discs poorly , either because they assumed we would just run out and buy a new one, or due to prices dropping for CD's, especially once people could make their own discs at home. Cd prices fell.
this really bugs, me. I order new CD's and then have the great displeasure of having to skip over tracks just to hear part of the album! And, I feel taken advantage off, since they roped me in with CD;s that did not skip and scratch.
Perhaps, it's in the type or quality of the plastic they use. Otherwise , why do Japanese discs work and sound much better at twice the price of our CD's?
Personally, I have not found CDs declining in quality. I've always felt they were delicate from the very beginning and try to handle them carefully (at least the same as LPs). The hype about them being tough is just that. I'm not exactly sure what the OP is getting at.

As far as sound quality, I think we're finally getting someplace with some of the best sounding CDs coming out recently.
"I think we're finally getting someplace with some of the best sounding CDs coming out recently."

I'll agree with that Rja.
Quick story... around 1985 when I bought my first CDs, I found out quickly that they were not superior to vinyl (I had a $250 CDP, so who knows). They were also marketed as indestructible, so I tossed a CD across the driveway a few times and you can guess the result.
Hevac1 wrote,

"So Geoffkait what do they use to read the data from CD's?"

Is this a trick question?
In answer to Hevac1's question, teleportation devices.

Hevac1, are you confusing the dual lasers used for CD/SACD reading with what is used for CD only? Which players, for redbook only, do you know of that use more than one laser?

On the OP's point, I do think, as others have mentioned, that the problem is more with his player than with the CDs themselves, at least from my experience.
OP here, will see see soon have a new cdp on the way, Still feel you all are wrong but will see,

indestructible is just a metaphor , they were supposed to be impervious to scratches , dust etc, and they were at first
Just check the thick ness of old cds and new ones, also no one replied as to why Japanese ones are better
I also find the Japanese issues of superior sound quality and choose them when available.
The Japanese use 2 different technologies.. SHM-CD and XRCD. SHM-CD uses a special polycarbonate plastic on the data side and allows for more accurate reading by the laser. There is also a SACD version. So the disk material is actually different than regular CDs.

XRCD is a process patented by JVC for producing Redbook CDs; these are the very expensive ones. The source is converted to 24-bit and jitter reduction is applied.
Both formats will play on Redbook CDPs.

I have researched this before I spend $30-50 on a CD.
As a follow up to Lowrider57, Acoustic Sounds sells "Gold" hi-rez redbook CD (e.g., XRCD). I have posted a number of comments about this medium's superior sound -- and we're talking redbook CD. Just picked up 2 Mo-Fi hi-rez "Gold" CDs -- The Cars. Excellent!!!
Bifwynne, I think we may have discussed this subject. What I am finding is SHM-CD is affordable and there is a large selection, not so with XRCD.
My question is have you ever ordered from the Japanese based vendors and if so, was the transaction favorable?
Lowrider57 ... I don't recall having ordered from Japanese vendors. Is there a web site?

To date, my source for hi-rez redbook CD is Acoustic Sounds, who ain't exactly cheap.
There are many Japanese vendors on Amazon selling mostly SHM-CD.
There is an online Japanese store that somebody here recommended but I never bookmarked it.

Found it in the archives...XRCD, SHM-CD, Blu-spec CD

There is cdJapan:


for the widest selection. They are in Japan and I've never ordered from them so I can't comment on their service, delivery time, etc.

To the op's question, I borrow cds from the library from time to time and unless I'm one of the first borrowers they are beat to crap but they usually still play just fine.
I found this a while ago and is why I thought more than 1 laser pickup is use now.

Multi-beam CD-ROM Drives
A new technological development, the multi-beam CD-ROM drive uses 7 laser beams instead of one to to produce 36X performance from a 6X rotation speed. Six beams are used for reading data; the other one is used for error correction. A new development by Hi-Val in multi-beam CD-ROM drives, the first 40X drive, utilize 7 laser beams, reading simultaneously. (6 that read, and one for error correction, the same as above). The yield is true 40X performance and a transfer rate that can reach 6MB/second. The CD-ROM disc rotates as smoothly as a 6X drive.
I maybe mistaken again but don't most HiEnd CD players use Computer ROM transports and not cheap consumer CD drives. Like Meridian at one time used Toshiba transports not an off the shelf cd drive for better performance and access time.
Hi, suspect you might possibly be confusing access time performance for computer hard drives with audio performance for CD players and CD transports. If many people are looking for some data in the woods they will find it faster than if only one person is looking for it. Just a hunch.
well will check out the Japan website thanks
Funny, just a thought, since audiophiles spend so much on equipment, yet are reluctant to pay tow or three times the amount on CD's for best quality of them.
CD's are actually the source component , that might effect the sound quality of the whole chain of reproduced music in the system
JUst a meaningless comment anyhow
Thanks to all who contributed comments

Click on the "Popular Formats" link on the left side of cdJapan's home page and it will take you to a list of "High Fidelity Formats" where there are explanations of and links to various premium quality discs.
No I don't Lowrider, but there has been discussion of them here in the past.
OK, thanks...I found some threads. BTW, I like the CD Japan selection, but the shipping prices are high.

Funny, just a thought, since audiophiles spend so much on equipment, yet are reluctant to pay tow or three times the amount on CD's for best quality of them.
CD's are actually the source component , that might effect the sound quality of the whole chain of reproduced music in the system

That's a very profound thought.