Design boom’s cassette tape culture –
these days it is hard to avoid the continuing debate that surrounds the ‘future of music’ and the formats that bring it to us. however this so called ‘digital age’ isn’t the first time that new music formats have created such a stir, some time not too long ago it was cassette tapes that were causing the music industry concern. the design of the cassette tape was resolved in the 1960s by the dutch electronics company philips as a portable alternative to the large vinyl formats. having not been patented the cassette tape design was quickly copied by many manufacturers leading to its widespread use. during the mid 1980s cassettes were at their most popular accounting for more than half of the worlds total music sales. alongside the attraction of music on the move, the cassette tape offered the opportunity for people to edit and customize their music easily for the first time. the DIY ethic of the tapes didn’t stop with home recording though, as many people often created their own artwork for their mixes.
4 thoughts on “Cassette tape culture”
I, for one, do not miss the cassette tape AT ALL.
Don’t forget, cassette tape was also the very first affordable storage medium for personal computers. Back when disk drives cost a half a year’s pay, you could hook up a boombox to your KIM-1, Ohio Scientific Challenger, or COSMAC Elf and store multi-kilobytes of data almost for free! If it hadn’t been for affordable cassette tape storage, the home PC industry would have been delayed by a good ten years.
Here’s a picture of my first Commodore 64 setup, complete with boombox storage system:
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