Thanks Tom for this. At the current point in time cassettes are thriving in
the underground, long after I had given them up for dead. I have no idea
why. My tiny indie Hospital Records actually released more cassette-only
issues than discs in the 1980s; mass duplication was cheap, and you could
manufacture copies yourself though it was work intensive and the product
was a little substandard. But I was working on no budget, and the format
fit that.

There was a network of artist's made cassettes in the 1980s, and most of
them were poor. One of the most avidly traded artist made cassettes was
"Apples Big! China Doll" by the Dutch artist Edward Kas'pel. Eugene
Chadbourne issued a bunch of them, there was a proper label, Sound of Pig,
that released nothing but and Throbbing Gristle released their entire live
concert output in a set of 75 cassettes that came in a little case. I
released my last cassette, "The Uncle Dave Primer," in 1993 but when it
took over a year to sell the tiny 75 copy run I decided I'd had enough.
There is only one archive that I know of that is accepting them for
preservation, and that is BGSU. They already have an impressive number of
them, and as the format tends to be so short lived I genuinely hope that
they are able to copy them before too long, though time is running out, I'm

I am honorary president of the Art Damage Foundation Inc., a non-profit
that supports performances of avant-garde music in Cincinnati area. Once
the guys who really run the organization asked me to compile a master for
Teddy and the Frat Girls, a pioneer all-girl punk group from Florida whose
record I issued in 1981. I set to work on it but stopped when they told me
they wanted to release it on cassette. I think I actually said, "Are you
kidding me?!" But when you go to the merch table at an Art Damage
Foundation gig it is loaded with tapes, and I've seen the same situation at
other undergrounds I've been to in the last couple of years. The perception
is among the young that a cassette has more inherent value than a CDR. I'm
not making this up!

Uncle Dave Lewis
Lebanon, OH

On Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 8:42 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> 02002207340200000000&s=19102<>
> (paste full link in browser)
> 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