I don’t consider myself particularly nostalgic but in the 21st century, I still use a cassette player to listen to my music. Now, it’s not that I don’t have any other options—-I have a CD player. I’m also aware that the Apple I-Pod and the MP3 players exist—-I just like my cassette player.
My cassette player may not be as small as an I-Pod or MP3 player but when it comes to listening to recorded music—I still enjoy the quality of cassettes. I like its portability, I listen to music at work, exercising and sometimes while doing errands. Yes, I get looks and the occasional comment “that’s so 80s” when its clipped to my hip or at work. I just smile because I enjoy the quality of the music.
Yes, the cassette has a history that goes back to the 19th century but it wasn’t until the 1960s when the first cassette player was introduced. In the 1960s, super 8 or eight track tape came into being as people wanted a more mobile way of listening to their selections. Cassette music, as in 4-inch cassette tapes, came into being around 1964 when car manufacturers wanted to give their mobile consumers more musical selection beyond the radio (Wikipedia, 2010). By the late 1970s, the 4 inch cassette tape popularity led to the eight track tape being phased out in 1982. The cassette player and cassettes gave way to the CD player/CDs which paved the way for the I-Pod and MP3 player.
So when Sony discontinued their “Walkman” cassette player after 31 years on October 26, many people thought it was the final death knell for the cassette player. I don’t think so. People have been proclaiming the end of the cassette player since the development of the CD player in the 1990s. The 1990s also marked the decline of the cassette player cassettes as manufacturers switched to putting recording out on CDs. You would probably think that in light of increasing technology which allowed the I-Pod and the MP3 player to store more selections in a smaller space that the cassette player wouldn’t made it into the 21st century. Think again—after all for portable music the cassette player has stood the test of time.
So with Japan calling it quits with the “Walkman” will that make me embrace the I-Pod or the MP3 player faster? No, because as long as I can still find a cassette player and cassette tapes—-I can still listen to my music. Cassette players and tapes may be limited, but they can still be obtained through large retailers such as Walmart and K-Mart. If they decide to phase out the batteries—well, then I might have a problem.
To all those people who comment on my attachment to the cassette player—I say respect your musical elder– youngums.
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassette_player. Retrieved November 5, 2010.