Saturday, July 17, 2021

Cassettes

In the odd history of music technology, some devices emerged that became inexplicably popular -- and are now set for nostalgic re-boot. No, I'm not talking about vinyl records; I'm talking about cassettes.

When I read recently that enthusiasts are returning to cassettes, I couldn't understand the news. Cassette tapes are, by everyone's admission, vastly inferior to vinyl, CDs and streaming. Why resurrect a bad technology?

Well, there are reasons. One is their connection to the automobile. In the Sixties-Eighties, if you wanted to listen to tunes in your car, you were limited to the radio or cassettes. You couldn't play records in a jostling vehicle.

Second, mix-tapes. With cassettes, you can create your own mix of songs from any artist/album. A custom mix-tape is wonderful, giving you music you like without stuff you don't.

Third, they're cheap. In record-stores today, cassettes are the unwanted step-children being practically given away. For decades nobody wanted them so their market value was zilch. Today you can build an entire collection for the price of one newly-minted LP.

Did you ever listen to cassettes?

14 comments:

  1. I haven't listened to cassettes in ages, although I brought home some of my teenage mix-tapes when we were clearing my parents' house. Now if I'd find something to play them with, it would be the ultimate trip down memory lane! xxx

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    1. For me, like you, the biggest obstacle is finding an old player!

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  2. For young folk, the way they might have seen cassettes was in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Years ago I digitized all my favourites and haven't had a reason to play one since. I am likely out of practice rewinding one with a pencil! :-)

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  3. I had a huge collection of cassettes, started by Christmas gifts from my grandmother in 1983-4, augmented by a Columbia House subscription, which I followed to the letter, then wrote them a letter ending my subscription! I still have some mixed tapes that my former best friend made me, one that L made me in 1995 when we met, and another from a friend to introduce me to Rush (the "all-sensitive mix", lol). I also have a recording of my best friend and I back in around 1982, creating a short story together - back when you could also record on cassette! I keep them (and a tape player!) for the history.

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    1. What great stories! Thanks for sharing, Sheila.

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  4. I listened to cassettes when I was a kid, and I LOVED making mix tapes!

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  5. Blogger ate my first two attempts to comment.

    Cassettes were preferable to CDs, they didn't skip when on long car rides. I did a lot of books on tape.

    Did you ever have a HitClips, Ally? That was definitely one of the weirder music formats in my lifetime.

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    1. No, and I've never heard of it. Off to research...

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  6. Yes, I listened to cassettes and we used to make our own mixes when I was in middle school. Fun times. I think resurrecting technology often makes perfect sense. New is not always better, not in every sense anyway. Today a song is a click away on YouTube but one must endure endless commercials- the same goes for other social media platforms. CD-s are a solution, but they skip and with time they are not so reliable. Really, we should bring back the cassettes!

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  7. Oh yes, I did lol

    My wedding was recorded on a cassette tape :-))

    And at the time, I was dating a DJ and he made me multiple mixed tapes that I still cry over losing lol

    I can't say I would jump on that technology train again because I also remember having to stick a pencil in there to rewind it if it came unraveled lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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