As the music industry endlessly remasters its classic analogue recorded catalogue it sometimes finds that the master tapes of some classic albums are literally falling apart. In some cases this has been attributed to manufacturers coming under pressure to stop using whale oil in its tape formulations in the mid 70’s which was used to help bind the tape oxide particles to the tape backing. Some of the synthetic alternatives have not stood up so well to the ravages of time and the tapes are literally falling apart.
The use of whale oil was in itself brought about by the oil crisis in the early 70’s. So economics and ecology have had an impact of the long term longevity of some analogue tape masters.