We recently read the iPod has reached its tenth birthday. This tiny device created a sea change in the personalized manner in which entertainment is delivered, and inextricably sealed the fortunes of the music business to the power of the Web. But it was not so many years before that the phonograph record, unchallenged for decades, gave way to an equally revolutionary technological breakthrough – the audio cassette. Unlike the bulky 8-track tapes that ushered your favourite recording artists into your vehicle, the cassette possessed attributes previously unimagined in the marketplace. You could play them in your car, broadcast them from your boom-box and jog to Joe Cocker using the headphones through your Walkman. Furthermore, recording was a snap. Convert your albums, copy another tape, or tape from the radio. A great leap forward for piracy?
Moral dilemmas aside, if you are in possession of your faculties, why in the world are you still storing so many audio cassettes in your house? Audio cassettes are major heap of C.R.U.D. (Completely Ridiculous Useless Debris) that you have probably not laid eyes on for at least twenty years. Are you even aware of their current coordinates? They probably don’t have lodgings in your media area.
Flat screen TVs have rendered older, chunkier models as about as welcome as a visit from a door-to-door missionary when you are nursing a hangover. Due to their popularity, entertainment wall units have either shrunk or altogether disappeared. Entertainment units evolved along with their home electronic counterparts to house multiple components and storage media. Many were designed to cover entire walls. No problem keeping CDs, cassettes, VHS tapes and even records in all of those drawers and empty cabinets. Today, the TV is likely to hang on a wall or balance delicately on a low console that has enough space for a PVR and DVD player. Best bet is to check your basement or storage locker for these pint-sized long-playing reels of magnetic tape providing up to 120 minutes of uninterrupted tunes.
Even if you did manage to locate your cassettes, we very much doubt you would be able to pair them with their plastic cases. By now the handwritten labels would be barely legible. Such are the ravages of time. Do you think it’s time to cut your cassette collection down to size?
We’ve already established you have no room to store them and probably nothing on which to play them. Unless you are still driving a car you purchased in the 1990s or before, the cassette deck has been replaced by a CD player. So, how do you decide what to ditch? Begin tossing the ones that look more like spaghetti than a recording medium. Those are the cassettes that became mangled in the machine you probably had to rip out. Give strong consideration to losing audio cassettes you recorded yourself as opposed to the pre-recorded variety. The sound quality of the latter weighs in their favour. Recycling may prove challenging as the magnetic tape is a problem. If broken up, you can recycle the plastic. One final suggestion. Check out the inside of any portable cassette decks that are still hanging around. You are bound to find a couple more to take to the thrift store. Just think, once those old boxes of cassettes have departed, you will have a whole new area for storing the CDs you no longer listen to, since all your music has been converted to digital formats.