The cassette tape, much like the VHS, offered a convenient and easy to use recording format when it was introduced in 1963 by Phillips during the Berlin Radio Show in Europe.  Unlike the cumbersome and high-priced recorders of that time, the cassette tape offered people the chance to record without having to be an expert. Since the cassette was so small, no larger than a credit card, it was easy to store and carry.

The Cassette Tape: Then

When it was first released, the compact cassette format was marketed more toward dictation and voice recording.  It became popular as such, and the technology quickly improved. After noise reduction technology and a new tape formulation was developed, as well as the addition of the ability to play stereo tapes, the cassette was soon able to guarantee high-quality sound.  In 1965 Sony released pre-recorded music cassettes in Europe, and found so much success that in 1966 they were released in the United States.

Also, in 1964, Philips revealed and released the Norelco Carry-Corder 150 within the United States.  This recorder and player combo became a huge hit, and by 1966 over 250,000 thousand of the products had been sold within the United States.  Japan quickly stepped into the market, and by 1968 over 2.4 million of these recorder and player combos had been sold by an almost unbelievable 85 different manufacturers.  With the creation and release of Sony’s Walkman, the popularity of the cassette tape skyrocketed even more as it allowed an easy and convenient way for people to listen to music while on the go.

The Cassette Tape: Now

Although the cassette tape was hugely popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the market for them fell drastically in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  This extreme drop in popularity is credited to the creation and sales of the CD. By the year 1993 the shipments of cassette players had dropped almost 10%, and continued to plummet more and more each year.  By 2001 cassettes were credited for less than 5% of all music format sales. Most music companies discontinued the use of cassette tapes in 2002.

But, all isn’t lost for the cassette tape.  Some independent record labels are making the decision to use this format to release their music, making this a cost-effective option in an ever-growing music market.  Still, the chances of the compact cassette tape making a huge comeback are very slim. Still, the nostalgia and ease of use is sure to remain a cherished part of this technology that paved the path for today’s modern formats.


Keepsake Solutions is a Columbus, Ohio based memory preservation service with over 15 years of experience.  We use cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art techniques to ensure that your memories are preserved, and that no precious moments are left in the past.  If you’d like to contact us with questions or comments, please feel free to do so at (614)392-1909 or email us below.