End of the Reel for Cassette Tapes

Telegraph, UK: Curry’s, biggest retailer, announces that it’ll stop selling cassette tapes. News story is a sad lovesong to the format used by many a man to woo his woman. [via Practical Archivist] Having just digitized a 1980s-era cassette tape myself, I’ve a fondness for the format.

The High Street chain also predicts that this Christmas will be the last time it sells any hi-fi system with a tape deck included.

[…]The portability of the format moved out of the living room and on to the street. In 1989, helped by falling prices of hi-fi systems, 83 million music cassettes were sold in the UK. This fell to 53 million in 2000, and just half a million in 2005, according to Understanding & Solutions, a market research firm.

Last year only about 100,000 of the items were sold. However, this figure excludes audio books and blank tapes, which still attract a small, loyal fan base, with four million blank tapes sold last year and 1.5 million audio books.


I’ll have to go and do another round of in-store audio-product browsing. Time was that the blank cassette was the most ubiquitous media around. Last I checked, it was hard to find 60-minute tapes (The shorter the tape duration, the thicker the tape and less prone to stretch and distort.)

UPDATE: Oh my. The Sun.Co.UK version of this story has an explanation for you young whippersnappers who don’t know what a cassette tape IS.

For younger readers, the compact cassette consisted of two miniature spools between which a magnetic tape was passed and wound. This mechanism was housed in a protective plastic shell.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 09, 2007 in • AudioAudio: HardwareLongevity
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