The History of the Audio Cassette, A Timeline

The History of the Audio Cassette, A Timeline

The audio cassette, better known as the compact cassette, was a marvel of modern science with its introduction in 1968. Music hardware was large and unwieldy before tapes. That’s why they reigned supreme for the better part of three decades before CDs dethroned them.

 At their release, cassette tapes were initially used for home recordings, but their better recording quality led them to be the medium du jour for pretty much all audio. They were much smaller than 8-tracks, harder to damage than LPs, and CDs didn’t exist yet. Those qualities made cassettes perfect for audiophiles both at home and the road.

 The invention and proliferation of audio cassettes were almost as quick as their sad demise. Here’s a quick run-down of the rapid rise, and equally swift decline of tapes.

 

1935


Reel-to-reel recording tapes were invented. They were large and unwieldy, and mainly used by professional recording studios and radio stations.

 

1958


The first reversible cassette tape is invented and released by RCA. It was closer to the size of a video cassette, and it never really caught on.

 

1962

Philips invented the first compact cassettes for audio storage. Ultimately, the Philips cassette became the standard format due to their licensing the technology to other companies for free.

 

1964


First home recorders utilizing compact cassette technology were released in the United States.

 

1966


First music albums released on the cassette format. The first artists included Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, and Johnny Mathis.

 

Mid 1970s


Cassette Decks were introduced to cars, replacing the previous 8 track players.

 

1979


Sony rele
ased the Walkman – a portable music player that revolutionized the way that people consumed music on the go.

 

2001


Cassettes finally lose the music fidelity battle to CDs and begin slowly disappearing into obscurity.

 

2009


Jadakiss “The Last Kiss” is the last major label release on cassette.

 

So there you have it! The compact cassette lived a relatively short yet impactful life. Even though nobody uses them much anymore, things like cassette decks in cars and the Walkman changed the way that people listen to music forever.

 

Source: Thanks Wikipedia.

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