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Compact Cassettes

We have provided a Brief History of Compact Cassettes as well as the '80s peakand the 2017 Rebirth, and also check out the Top Cassettes of the '80s all.  Who remembers the Sony Walkman?  Relive some old memories as we talk about what made a Sony Walkman and a newly-mastered Mixtape so special.


Brief History

1962:  Lou Ottens, Hasselt, Belgium, invented the Compact Cassette for audio storage that was first introduced in Europe in 1963 and later in the United States in 1964.

Lou Ottens

It wasn’t until 1964 in Hanover, Germany that the mass production of Compact Cassettes started.  In 1965, pre-recorded music cassettes, known then as Musicassettes, were launched in Europe and later in the U.S. in 1966.

In 1964, the company Philips released the Norelco Carry-Corder 150 in the U.S.  By 1966, over a quarter of a million recorders/players were sold in the United States alone.  After Japan dominated the production of these players, they had sold over 2.4 million in the year of 1968.

The creation of the Sony Walkman was a big contributor to the Cassette Player spike in the mid to late ‘60s.  The Sony Walkman made it easier for people to take their music with them and listen on the go.

Sony Walkman 1979 - Model TPS-L2


80’s Peak

The ever so popular Compact Cassettes had peaked in popularity in the late 1980’s.  They were short-lived and outed by the newly developed CD’s.


2017 Rebirth

In 2017, Nielsen Media Research Music had reported that sales of cassette tapes had increased by 35% since 2016.  That’s about 174,000 cassette tapes that were sold in the U.S.  

Why?  More than likely, pure nostalgia!  And with current pop culture featuring tape recorders and cassettes, it's no wonder they flashed back into style!

Popular Cassettes ‘80s

Some of the most popular Cassettes in the 1980’s.  We take a look at some of the most popular cassettes in America during the ‘80s.  List provided by southtree.com.

AC/DC - "Back in Black"

Michael Jackson - "Thriller"

John Mellencamp - "Scarecrow"

Prince - "1999"

Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the USA"

Guns N Roses - "Appetite for Destruction"

Journey - "Escape"

The Police - "Synchronicity"

Beastie Boys - "License to Ill"

The Mixtape

Stop. Pause. Fast-forward. Rewind.

When most of the younger generations think of a Mixtape, they are more likely to think of just a few years ago when you could drag and drop songs into a playlist and have your computer spit out a burned CD.  Especially nowadays, with the popularity of music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, the making a mix-“tape” has never been easier.

For the rest of us, we remember the days when a mixtape meant spending hours on creating a cassette that was filled with the songs we liked. 

Forbes.com couldn’t have said it any better when they said this in 2012: “There would be albums strewn about the room. There would be painful minutes spent starting and stopping and restarting a song in an attempt to hit the record button at just the right time so as to eliminate the clunks and hisses.”

In a wrap, you had to put much more thought, love and tender care into making mixtapes then the kids today as they simply drag and drop or ask Siri to play their jam!


What was your favorite memory with Cassettes?  Leave a comment below!