Cassettes for the Car and Walkman


It has been noted that not only do music recording formats become obsolete, but so to does the music. I had a major success in my thesis process last week when my ethics review went through with only one stipulation. That is, I will need the photos’ original authors to sign off before I can publish them, but thankfully I will not be needing to publish the entire data set meaning I will only need to collect 20 to 50 approvals to have enough material to publish. So I have begun the process of selcting which images I will be using for my thesis, and some of the criteria for choosing them. This image is a good example of the kinds of pics I am looking to use. It has fairly large # of tapes (20 – 100), a variety or pre-recorded store bought and blanks. There is no creative commons liceneses issued on this image and there is a good selection of both notes and comments attched to it. Those will definately be some criteria.

My cassette collection. Definitely some history here. I don’t listen to some of this music any more. Growing up and having kids changes you.

Another revelation. Since I will be needing to contact photographers anyway to obtain their permission, I figured why not ask them to go the additional step and complete a short survey to give some detail and depth to my findings. (This is beginning to sound more and more like science all the time!)

Among the many questions I am brainstorming at the moment, are those realted to the content in a persons cassette collection compared to what they listen to now. How much have people replaced the music they listened to on cassettes, with its digital equivilant on either CD or MP3? I am curious if the kinds of music we listen to would have been different had the LP or compact cassette stuck around a little bit longer, which is something else that is likely impossible to track.

One Reply to “Cassettes for the Car and Walkman”

  1. >Interesting point. But if you think about it, recent music formats have become obsolete rather quickly. Records have had the longest run (right?) cassettes were useful for cars and Walkmen and cds haven’t been around very long at all, and are already threatened by MP3s. 8-Tracks? Doomed. And I remember a (very) brief period where DATs were thought to be the next big thing for home use. Not so much!

    But does the music become obsolete to the individual listener as time wears on and formats change? Probably “yes” for most. I bought a massive amount of music between the ages of 17 and 25. Then I cooled a bit because I was no longer watching MTV or listening to the radio (radio in NYC is beyond awful). Now, between and iTunes browsing I’ve been buying more music than ever before. Am I still listening to those 17-25 purchases? Not really…just a few that I have deemed “classic”. I am, however, buying and listening to more or less the same type of music.

    I think I’d listen to the same kind of music regardless of the format (but all that rewinding and fast-forwarding would still annoy the heck out of me)

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