Check the Ampex list archives, Richard. I once linked to the article which documented the first year 
CD's outsold cassettes. I think it was early 1990's. The format seemed to die off rapidly after 
that. I think the CD's out-selling cassettes coincided with widely-available and cheap CD walkmans 
and the switchover to CD players being standard in most cars.

I agree with the other guys that cassette is not yet a dead format, but it's really close. 
Audiobooks went entirely to CD, CDR and digital download several years ago. But I think there are 
still large-scale duping operations and millions of cassettes sold in some 3rd world markets.

The way I remember it, the Walkman was introduced 1979 or so (I had an original first-edition-in-USA 
Sony Walkman and it was about the coolest thing a 13-year-old gadget geek could want). By the very 
early 80's, Walkmans and Walkman-wannabes were cheap and massively available. If I recall correctly, 
cassettes out-sold LPs by the mid-80's (I also found a date an source and posted to the Ampex list a 
few years back), but it might have been the late-80's. Can you believe there was a period of years 
when crapola-junk-sound duped cassettes were the main consumer-release format in the USA?

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Media Timeline - Historical Assistance Please

> Thanks, everyone, for the comments on- and off-list...and Happy New Year!
> Hello, Jack,
> Let's look at the cassette dates.
> 1963 is well-documented
> 1970 is somewhat arbitrary and based on personal recollection
> 1978 as Dominant is based on the introduction of the Nakamichi 1000 plus one year
>          and one year before the introduction of the Walkman (which also supported
>          the format) -- so it was splitting the difference between 1977 and 1979
> 1993 as the beginning of the decline was the year that the
>          Nakamichi Dragon was discontinued (1982-1993) and the year the CR7
>          was discontinued (1986-1993), although the peak year for portable cassette
>          machine sales was 1994 with 18 million sold,  but I suggest that the demise of
>          the high-end gear was more telling.
> 2002 as the beginning of the niche market was the year Nakamichi stopped
>          making cassette decks. I recall being somewhat shocked between the late
>          1980s and the late1990s when walking into a Circuit City looking for cassette
>          decks at the lack of choices available. Certainly, the cassette was no longer
>          important for music distribution -- which is the basis of this as opposed to
>          dictation. Audio books beg the issue, but...
> 2008 was chosen as the "end" because of the NY Times article
>           "Say So Long to an Old Companion: Cassette Tapes"
>           By ANDREW ADAM NEWMAN, Published: July 28, 2008
>          This article also says that in 2006, cassettes only accounted for 7% of all
>          sales in the $923 million audio book industry.
> Tascam is currently selling one cassette deck, and, sadly, it's not even their flagship 
> 122-series, long the mainstay of news/broadcast/recording studios and some transfer facilities. 
> Rather, it is the dual-well 202 MK V. At least both decks record on this one. This is a two-head 
> machine and does not offer any bias setting (as did a similar Kenwood deck I bought in the late 
> 1980s that made great tapes).
> Marantz no longer offers any cassette machines, and they were once the mainstay of event 
> recording.
> Sony sends you to retailers and doesn't even bother listing the products on their website. I 
> suspect that the retailers are cleaning out the distribution channels at this point.
> Anyway, I don't know how to pick the end date of a format with any precise accuracy as there are 
> always a few hangers-on.
> My goal here is to define widespread release of new entertainment content in the format and while 
> LPs are not widespread, I think we're seeing more entertainment in that format than in cassettes. 
> My major interest in this research project is music entertainment.
> I see Tim's point, too, but I don't know. Most duplicators and duplicator suppliers I've dealt 
> with have stopped stocking product and or shut down.
> I could keep it as a niche product, I guess. The NYT article, cited above, suggested that even the 
> then-diehard users thought they'd be out of cassettes by 2011.
> Thanks and Happy New Year!
> Cheers,
> Richard
> At 03:42 PM 2009-12-30, jack palmer wrote:
>>I wonder about the cassette tape use.  Many radio shows are still copied and sold in that format 
>>although MP3s are taking over a lot of it now.  I would say it was still a niche use.  At least 
>>for another year or so. Jack
>>>cassette Developed 1963 Major 1970 Dominant 1978 Decline 1993 Niche 2002 Ended 2008
>>Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>>Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
>>Detailed contact information:
>>Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.