Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rewind: Cassette Tapes Are Back

Cassette Tapes: The iPods of the '80s.
Rewind: Cassette Tapes Are Back
by Claudine Zap
November 20, 2008 03:41:14 PM

120 Votes Before MP3 players, DVR, and Blu-Ray. Before live streaming and downloads, there were cassette tapes, an analog magnetic tape system for recording, listening, and mixing together your favorite tracks to share and play in your Walkman or boombox.

Think of it as a tiny reel-to-reel. The iPod of the '80s was last spotted at your neighbor's garage sale, the back of your friend's closet, and the "for sale" table at indie band concerts. Wait, what? That's right, cassette tapes are so out, they're in.

According to Splice Today, for underground bands, cassettes are the new, cool vinyl: "They perfectly suit thrifty DIY labels and musicians trying to maintain a lo-fi aesthetic, as well as the more artistically inclined."

While audio went digital, the lowly cassette was down but not out. In fact, we checked to see the buzz on tapes and found a bump in searches in the last week for "music cassette tapes" (+110%), "blank cassette tapes" (+210%), "books on cassette tapes" (+900%), and the sad but definitely true "cassette tapes problems damage" (+400%).

Say what you will about digital recording, you haven't really proved your love for a good tune until you've spent hours re-spooling a cassette that was eaten by your tape player.

If you already have every version of the iPod that's made, maybe it's time to go back in audio time. Given that it's a very DIY holiday this year, a mixed tape could be the perfect retro gift. You can even decorate the jewel box cover yourself.

We look forward to the re-discovery of the 8 Track.


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