Message to CBC: Junk those discs at your peril

Message to CBC: Junk those discs at your peril


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2018

When Belgium’s VRT digitised its music collection, the originals were carefully treated and conserved for posterity.

CBC Montreal will earn international contempt if it junks its record library, as planned.

How’s it done? Read here.



  • SVM says:

    A decade ago, the British Library (an institution which is currently very active in digitising sound recordings) published an excellent free guide, written by Peter Copeland, that covers the issue of format-shifting; it can be downloaded from:

    Although I am not a sound engineer, I found much of the discussion in the opening chapters highly informative and relevant to the issues obtaining around digitisation. I would urge any operatives, sound engineers, and decision-makers in a digitisation project to read this guide.

    • Vaquero357 says:

      Holy smokes, that is literally a whole book! And it looks like a pretty fascinating one, too. Got myself some more bedside reading.

      Thanks for the link, “SVM”!

      • Sue says:

        Can you please tell me the derivation of the phrase “holy smokes”? It seems Canadian.

        • Bill says:

          Google is your friend, Search for “snopes holy smokes” and you will get your answer. Not Canadian, as it predates Canada by centuries.

  • Tom Moore says:

    Thanks. I have been surprised by the lack of push-back on this absurd crime against music.

    • Bill says:

      There’s no pushback from anyone who is knowledgeable because no crime is being committed. The CDs have digital data on them, easily and exactly extracted with 100% fidelity. Copyright considerations prevent them from letting the plastic disks go elsewhere if they have kept a digital (or analog) image of the contents, so they are instead destroying the plastic disks.

  • Will Duffay says:

    The earlier Slippedisc piece on this did include a comment that CBC Montreal will not be throwing away vinyl or 78s, just CDs. So it’s probably not the end of civilisation as we know it.

    • Sue says:

      You mean everything put onto the CD since its inception 35 years ago? I thought that WAS civilization, audio style.

  • V.Lind says:

    Radio Canada (not CBC Montreal, a different operation) has said the issue is space. And that the copyright issues, as it understands them, prevent donating or selling the actual discs, whether vinyl or CD. So it is not seeking help on how to preserve vinyl.

    An article on how to give away or sell the hard copies — THAT would be useful.

  • fred says:

    I’m sorry but this VRT thing is bullshit, a whole civilisation was thrown away or wiped out because of space and re-using tapes for other things in the” sixties and seventies. All of pre-1965 or so has been lost for ever…….so this praise is not earned.

  • jan neckers says:

    I was a radio and television producer at Flemish Public Radio and Television (Vlaamse Radio en Televisie). Definitely not everything was thrown away. A lot of interesting shellack was kept and I gladly taped it. But it’s true that it was the producer’s decision to forward tapes of concerts to the archive or keeping it in his/her own office. Some crimes were committed; especially when my colleague of Opera and Belcanto broadcasts unexpectedly died. The successor for a few months despised the genre and had all tapes reused with the argument “tape is expensive”. What was wiped ? Franco Corelli’s and Leontyne Price’s concerts ath the World Exhibition of 1958. All operatic concerts with second rank (though interesting) singers like Doro Antonioli, Anna Novelli,Edy Amadeo, Gaetano Scano, Bianca Berini, Gaetano Scano, Oralia Dominguez, Alfredo Mariotti, Nicola Herlea, Mady Mesplé, Marcella De Osma, Marcella Pobbe, Ernesto Veronelli etc. etc.

  • Ben says:

    Why not ship them off to North Korea?