Originally Posted by Shadowed
What's a cassette... ?
Cassette--a tape format designed by Philips in the early 60's to record voice messages on answering machines. By the late 60's, the 8 track was for music and the cassette was for answering machines. However, the inner theif of youth liked the recording aspect of cassette coupled with them being smaller and not switching tracks was a bonus! Fidelity? Who cares when it's "free"! The 70's rocked on and as more people wanted their own "mix tapes" for love song complations to get their groove on in the back of custom vans--the cassette as a viable sound format took off.
The sound fad started in 1965 and was running out of steam by the mid 70's until the invention of the boombox which pushed cassette to the forfront--it was smaller and used less battery power for the win. Now kids everwhere wanted the cassette so they could have mix tapes, cassettes for the car and so on as "mobile sound" took off. Sony came out with the walkman in 1979 so now people could ignore other annoying people with headphones and a very small (for it's time) box on the belt. Extra bonus, the first electronic gizmo as a fashion statement--cassette crushed 8 track in the marketplace.
Since audio companies put R&D into things that sell, the quality of the tape, noise reduction and transport/head quality improved as the lowly answering machine became a dominant format--the LP sales started falling in 1978 and cassette was on the rise because most music buyers are 12 to 22 years of age, had boomboxes/walkmans and wanted love song mix tapes to get their freak on. The quality jumped up by leaps and bounds that even the audiophile snobs would part with thousands of dollars for a cassette deck
Once Nak rolled out a deck that would TURN THE CASSETTE OVER by itself--the audiophiles were hooked! OMG!
The biggest boost for cassette was CDs--yeah, the cool kid in school would use his dad's CD player connected to a decent cassette deck and the other kids would buy CDs. This lead to massive piles of chrome cassettes being used to make dozens of copies of the same CD--it sounded better than the commercials cassettes and when done right, so close to the actual CD in sound that it worked well. The 90 minute chrome cassette was king because, generally speaking you can get two albums/CDs on the thing for the win. The cassette was like a "shoe leather Napster", you had to physically walk to the cassette deck and make an effort but now kids could have 100 cassettes with 200 albums on them... all is well.
The cassette peaked in sales in 1990 (as did audio at large) then the sales decline hit and CD players went from being very expensive to reasonably priced and were in cars/boomboxes and discmans replaced the walkman by using memory buffers to prevent skipping. Computers then had CD-R or CD-RW, Napster rolls out the MP3 and cassettes and LP's vanished by 2000.
That is basiclally the story of the cassette format, it started as an answering machine format, knocked out the mighty 8 track, became viable for a music format which started the decline in album sales and created a new generation of thieves....errr, "mix tap recording people"
I purchased ONE cassette deck in the late 80's, figured it would be my first "real" cassette deck and my last cassette deck at the same time. The point of it was to record CDs to tape for my car and walkman use--and party song collections to keep the party going. Probably recorded at least 500 cassettes on chrome tape but by the early 90's the writting was on the wall and as my music purchases fell off drastically, I would just pick up CDs here and there and be done with it. Last year I pulled the old Onkyo out, clean the heads and the thing still works! It was truely my first and last cassette deck but I'm not going to fool myself--it is what it is but I have no nostalgic connection that wants to find new chrome tape and make some mix tapes.
Now the cassette, the 8 track and reel-to-reel is just a curiosity of how things were done in the past. The LP is the same way, it had more staying power because it is more durable and has cool album covers. LP sales peaked in 2015 at 5% of sales then fell every year after that and in 2018 was down to around 3%... such is fad life. Yeah, I hear that cassette sales have DOUBLED
as LP sales decline in percentage but--the laws of statistics being what they are...it is not "coming back".
In my garage I have my old cassette deck, laser disc and a MiniDisc player/recorder sitting on a shelf. I call it "The land of obsolete toys" and kids like to play with the laser disc the most because of the giant discs! Humans being humans, generally speaking interest in something sparks up AFTER it is officially obsolete. Dolby noise reduction went away in 2012...the MiniDisc stopped production of the format around 10 years ago and now cassette becomes popular. Part of the popularity can be said because it is hard to get a good one now... throw words like "vintage" or "rare" in the listing and plenty of idiots will arrive at your mouse trap! I saw a boombox sell for over $4,000...a boombox! Why not? Find a fool, take their money and run! Hey, some loon purchased a 1978 Ford Pinto station wagon for $30,000...anything can happen.
No, I won't sell my Onkyo or MiniDisc machine--well, if you offered me 10 thousand bucks for the MD? I'd think about it...it is a TASCAM so a pro deck....very VINTAGE and very RARE!
Now to find a man bun that falls for that kind of BS...they are out there!
That is 18's global history of the cassssssssette format--because sex sells and teenagers are thieves--for the win.
I hear some guy built a MP3 player inside of a cassette shell... that would be a cool thing to install in a broken Walkman for those 80's nights at nightclubs....now THAT would be cool. Not for me, I don't have enough hair anymore and you need hair to have big hair.