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The Story of Sony’s Failed Giant Cassette Tape

The early- and mid-70s were an amazing time for innovation in the home stereo industry. People were still making the transition from those giant pieces of furniture known as “console stereos” that featured an all-in-one entertainment unit: AM/FM radio, record changer, maybe an 8-track player and two speakers. The big thing was the component system with the amplifier, tuner, turntable, speakers and tape machines all connected together with patch cords. Cassettes were still looked down upon as a hissy, lo-fi medium by hi-fi snobs. There had to be something better.

Enter Sony’s Elcaset.

Learn more about both Elcaset and DCC at Atlas Obscura.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 thoughts on “The Story of Sony’s Failed Giant Cassette Tape

  • In his book “Appetite for Self-Destruction” about the downfall of the music industry in the digital age, the author Steve Knopper makes the interesting point that the digital downfall for music labels started with the fight over DAT. The labels forced Sony to install widgets on the DAT players to limit copying, but made a concession to the tech industry by not putting similar copying limits on the CD-rewrite drives on computers. Fast forward 15 years and the unlimited copying allowed by CD-Rs and the rewrite drives that came pre-installed on computers, combined with file sharing, and you get the collapse of an industry that had gotten fat off CDs. Just thought that was interesting.


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