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Cassette tapes making a comeback with youth in Japan

9 Comments
By Master Blaster

For those of a certain age, hearing the term “cassette tape” harkens back to a simpler time of making a super special mix-tape for a loved one using a "Frankie Goes to Hollywood Greatest Hits" with scotch tape over the holes because it was cheaper than a blank cassette.

It’s this kind of feeling that kids today lack with the distant and impersonal music downloading business going on these days. Perhaps that’s why Japanese youths have been taking to the nearly extinct medium of magnetic tape more and more in recent years.

According to stats from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, manufacturing of magnetic tape for data storage has increased for the third consecutive year since 2010. I can only imagine the grins on the stubborn people still holding on to stock in those manufacturers right now.

Koji Mori’s Zombie Forever Recordings releases several of their works on audio cassette. However, in this case the tapes come with a special code that allows you to download the same or related bonus tracks digitally. He credits the United States as the inspiration for this marketing scheme.

“It’s popular for bands and indie labels in the U.S. to sell download codes with a cassette tape. Music lovers in Japan are gradually getting into it more and more too. It’s good for the creator because you can make them yourself easily and cheaply and sell them for 500 to 1,000 yen.”

He goes on to point out other benefits to audio cassettes such as the lack of a cueing function on most players that made it very tiresome to skip songs. Usually the listener would have to go through an album in its entirety, a rare listening experience in new music. At the same time he also points out flaws such as the tape’s degradation over time and repeated use.

However, he failed to mention when the tape deck chews up my Wham! cassette for the fourth time so that it makes every tenth word sound like it’s in slow-motion and you throw your leg warmers out a window…

I meant your Wham! cassette.

Slightly older Japanese netizens were also amused by this throwback to tapes saying, “I hated it when it got tangled” and “I always wanted one of those decks that could fast forward to the next song automatically.” Also, while some still preferred other mediums typing, “I like the ptsuptsu of vinyl better,” many could understand the fascination saying, “It’s like using a slide ruler or typewriter was in my day.”

Of course many were quick to point out who was at the forefront of this new fad, Shinji Ikari. The protagonist of the "Evangelion" series could often be seen with a portable cassette player despite the existence of better technology such as giant robots. Although technically speaking, his was actually a DAT player or rather its fictional counterpart “SDAT” if we’re really going to mince acronyms and formats.

Source: Nikkan Spa via Golden News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Cassette to iPod Converter Helps ‘80s Kids Keep Their Tape Collection Alive -- The Return To Cassette Tapes (Or Did We Ever Truly Leave Them Behind?) -- Still have any mix tapes lying about? Go digital with this cheap converter from Sanwa Direct

© RocketNews24

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9 Comments
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Oh yeah sure, still have my babe-magnet magical mix tape somewhere..............

Anyways, "Kids React to Walkmans":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk_vV-JRZ6E

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ha! I knew it!! I knew this day would come and they all laughed at me. I'm gonna dust off my 8 tracks!! Eat your hearts out!

2 ( +2 / -1 )

Threw most of my cassettes away years ago, but still keep my Oingo Boingo "Dead Man's Party" for its eventual eBay resale value.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cassette tapes? 8-tracks? Phooey. You people need to keep up with the times.

Now excuse me while I dust off my reel-to-reel recorder. If I can just find that take-up spool...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even the MiniDisc format wasn't so bad, having the best of bothe worlds I had it pegged as a format somewhere in between a cassette and a CD.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I LOVED the MiniDisc! Takes me back to Japan '98. I was sad those went out so fast. Compact, convenient, and protected in their own case - brilliant! Now if THOSE went back into style, I'd gobble them up like nobody's business!

Now if I could only find some J-girls from that same era - back when the "gaijin boom" still had some legs to it.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can understand the renewed interest in vinyl but cassettes have a horrible sound quality which is just an abomination to the ears.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can understand the renewed interest in vinyl but cassettes have a horrible sound quality which is just an abomination to the ears.

Like most of the analogue formats, It does depend quite considerably on the quality of the cassette itself, the quality of the playback equipment, and whether the equipment is kept sufficiently clean. Some people can't be bothered with that, but there's not helping them.

It is true that consumers were often shortchanged by the record companies. Prerecorded cassettes once sold extremely well, and generally cost the same as the vinyl version of the same album. They were however prone to hiss due to the bad quality of tape that was used, and would stretch far more easily than the blank tapes we were buying at the time.

The one vital thing for all forms of tape, including cassette, is that the playback heads must be cleaned regularly, both to allow optimum playback quality and to avoid transferring crap back from the heads onto the tapes being played and buggering them up too.

If you don't believe cassette can sound great, read up about Nakamichi and where they took it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh the memories of cassettes and walkmans! Nostalgia. ^.^

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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