Modern audio tape as we know it began with cigarettes. An Austrian named Fritz Pfleumer–the guy who invented the plastic drinking straw–was trying to come up with a cheap and classy alternative to the strip of real gold that was used as a band around the tips of cigarettes. (Yes, they did things differently in the 1920s.)
As he pondered this, he realized that he had come up with a solution to the problem of magnetic audio recording. Instead of using magnetized wire or bulk reels of steel tape, why not put some magnetized particles on a strip of paper?
After experimenting with a variety of magnetizable particles and glues to hold onto the strip of paper, he sold it to a couple of German companies who manufactured a device called the Magnetophone. Ten years later, the Magnetophone became a powerful weapon for the Nazis.