Do reel to reel tapes degrade?

Strangely, there seems to be a widespread opinion by people who know nothing about this category,  that tape degrades. Across the wide spectrum of tapes that have been manufactured in the last 60 years, the track record for tape lifespan has been quite good. 98% of the prerecorded tapes made in the 1950s and 60s are still playing beautifully.

Some types of tape formulations may be more prone to degradation, especially when stored badly. And certain specific tape formulations have been proven to be problematic but this represents a very small percentage of overall tape production. With some of these failed formulations, should you have a tape with material on it that is valuable to you, you can reverse the process of tape shedding by heating or baking the tape at low temperatures. Lots of information available on the Internet on this topic.