“Somebody loan me a dime. . .”—Boz Scaggs
The Museum of Obsolete Media has some rankings of germane media that are worth pondering.
There are the Media Stability Ratings for various types of audio formats. The ratings are from one to five with the assessments:
- Low Risk
- Moderate Risk
- High Risk
- Very High Risk
So, for example, the acetate/lacquer discs that were used for recordings starting in the 1920s rate a 5. It isn’t simply age that matters: 10-inch 78 rpm records that were in production from 1901 to 1960 are ranked 1.
The 12-inch LP format that we are all more familiar with is also at 1.
Compact cassettes and 8-track tapes are both rated 4. Audio CDs are at 2.
If you have concerts or movies in VHS or Betamax formats, good luck: they are both at 4, High Risk.
The curators have also devised Obsolescence Ratings. This goes to the point of whether there are the means by which the media can be played.
Again, similar rankings:
- In current use or low risk
- Vulnerable, or some risk
- Threatened, or moderate risk
- Endangered, or high risk
- Extinct, or very high risk
Perhaps it is the addition of works to the descriptions, but these seem more ominous than the Media Stability Ratings.