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Audio Cassettes

Technological Impacts Project

Kelsey Hansen

on 16 March 2011

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Transcript of Audio Cassettes

1963 The audio cassette
was first invented by the Dutch
electronics firm Philips in 1962.
It was introduced in Europe in
1963 and then in the U.S.
in 1964. The Audio Cassette It was originally designed for personal dictation and to give a more practical means to the bulky 8-track. The cassette is a plastic case containing
a spool of 3.81mm of magnetic tape spooled
between two reels. It is essentially a self-
contained reel-to-reel system using a narrow strip of tape and enclosing both reels within the plastic housing. Impacts on the Individual Durable
Easy to copy
Cheap Cassettes made it possible for
portable audio, at home recording, and data storage for early microcomputers.
They helped bring underground rock and punk music from behind the The Iron Curtain, allowing a foothold for Western culture among younger generations. The Cassette Culture: musicians were able to function outside the bounds of the mainstream industry. The members took advantage of the creative and economic freedoms the medium offered. Personal styles and aesthetic
backgrounds and beliefs could
be shared and understood. Impacts on Society Impacts on the future Political uses: The dissemination of sermons by the Ayatollah Khomeini throughout Iran before the Iranian Revoluion in 1979. This led to the
overthrow of
the regime of the
Shah, Mohammad
Reza Pahlavi. In India, from the 1970's up to
the present day, cassettes are
used for film and devotional music
because of its low cost and format.
Cassettes were also
a booming market for
for pop music in India.
It lead to criticism from
conservatives as well as
creating a huge market
for legitimate recording
companies and pirated
tapes. With cassette technology people
were able to listen to their own music mixes, even in their cars. Philips made a decision that was crucial with the debut of the cassette: in the face of pressure from Sony, Philips made the decision to license the format for free. As a result it became the dominant medium. This also led to Philips releasing the
Norelco Carry-Corder and by 1966 over
250,000 recorders had been sold in the
U.S. alone and by 1968 over 2.4 million had been sold. In 1971, a new process for using chromium dioxide on the surface of the tape was discovered. This resulted leap in quality led to the cassette becoming the new standard for the recording industry, knocking out vinyl records. The cassette could be used for
a number of applications: a single
tape could be re-recorded many
times which led to its usage in
early telephone answering
machines. They were also
produced so that they could run
on a continuous loop, making them
ideal for commercial applications,
such as the music played over
speakers in retail stores. Cassette players began the standard
markings for controls. The universal
'piano key' control panel that is still
in practice today consists of a square
for 'stop', a right-pointing triangle for
'play', double triangle for 'fast forward'
and 'rewind', a red dot for 'record' and
two rectangles side by side for 'pause.' 1979: Sony introduced the Walkman
(first known as the Soundabout).Not
much bigger than the cassette, it made
music listening extremely portable.
Sony has sold well over 186 million players since it was released. With Walkmans popping up
all over it revolutionized the way
people thought of music and tape
players and essentially rendered
any vinyl recording obsolete by this
point. 1990's
The compact disc, which
had been in production
since 1982, finally became
inexpensive enough to
directly compete with
The CD's larger capacity
and the ability to make
digital copies without any
loss of quality led comsumers
to embrace the CD.
The Discman was then
introduced as the new
portable player. By 1993:
Annual shipments of CD players
reached 5 million up 21% from
the year before.
At the same time cassette
player shipments dropped 7%
to aprox. 3.4 million. This
continued to drop and in 2001
cassettes accounted for only
4% of all music sold. In 2009
only 34,000 cassettes were
sold, 2,000 of them being
over 36 months old. In late 2002/early 2003, most
major U.S. music companies
discontinued the cassette. It,
along with the Walkman, are
now seen as signifiers for the
80's and the image represents
a time of change in the world
and genre.
1999: For the first time,
Sony sold more Discmans
than Walkmans in the U.S. And finally when digitalized music came about,
the world had changed itself over again.
Everyone owned a computer and had access
to and used the internet, it only made sense
that music would take the next step and go
digital as well with the introduction of the MP3 in
1998. And then with the launch of the most
popular MP3 player in 2001 with Apple's iPod. Clarke, Mel. "Vinyl vs. Tape vs. CD vs. MP3." UK Music. April 11, 2009.
http://www.music.co.uk/opinion/vinyl-tape-cd-mp3.html. February
6, 2011.
Doan, Amy & Jennifer Goodwin. "Winding Down." Forbes 164.8 (1999):
56. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web.6 Feb. 2011.
Hartman, Dennis. "The History of the Cassette Tape." eHow. 1999-
2011. http://www.ehow.com/about_5071119_history-cassette-tape.
html. February 6, 2011.
"Memorex Audio Cassettes 1982." YouTube. July 30, 2008. http://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW5EgCeSIQM. February 9, 2011.
Staub, Ian M. "Redubbing the Underground: Cassette Culture in Trans-
ition." Middletown, Connecticut. April 2010. http://wesscholar.
wesleyan.edu. February 6, 2011
"Vinyl, Cassette or CD: What's the right choice?" True/Slant. May 13,
2010. http://trueslant.com/leorgalil/2010/05/13/vinyl-cassette-or-cd-
whats-the-right-choice/. February 9, 2011.
"Vinyl vs. Tape vs. CD vs. MP3." Childofthe80's. Boosville Production.
2007. http://www.childofthe1980s.com/2009/11/28/vinyl-vs-tape-vs
cd-vs.mp3/. February 9, 2011. Sources
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