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From High Fidelity, 7/69 - "Are Cassettes Here To Stay?" Interesting stats about how quickly duped
cassettes out-sold duped quarter-track reels (which was more a somewhat large niche rather than a
mainstream mass medium). It would take the Walkman to rocket cassettes ahead of LP records, in the
1980s. Then the "fantastic technological breakthrough" predicted in the last sentence of the article
took place with the CD, and cassettes were doomed. It took the CD about 10 years to out-sell duped
cassettes, but by the 20th anniversary of the CD, duped cassettes were almost gone as a mass medium
in the US and most other Western countries. Cassettes still hang on in parts of the Third World.
Interesting aside -- the same issue of High Fidelity shows a very small portable (mono) cassette
recorder from Ampex. So by 1969, the seeds were sown to build a Walkman. I wonder why it took 10+
years for Sony to do it? It seems like everyone saw that car and walk-around portability were the
key superior features of cassettes, from the get-go.
-- Tom Fine