Home taping, the act of taking a blank tape and recording the radio, making a mixtape of your favourite songs, recording stuff from the TV, or recording your own attempts at making music, is a lost art form. In this modern age there is no need to record songs off the radio – you can just download them (legally or illegally), or even stream them. No one really makes mixtapes anymore, people make playlists and share them on streaming services such as Spotify. Recording stuff off the TV? Why bother, you can just use your PVR system of choice, record it, skip the adverts and then delete it after. And recording your own music, easy as pie and you can sound semi-professional for little to no money at all – then simply upload it to an emerging talent website like Bandcamp and share your music with the world!
Although cassettes were only in my life for about 10 years (and by the eighth year cassette usage was pretty much extinct) I still have a fondness for them, I probably suffer from the awful habit of nostalgia-by-proxy – where I get caught up in everyone else’s accounts of making mixtapes, recording the radio etc. and want a piece of the action. For this reason I still buy the odd tape.
Look I won’t lie to anyone, I honestly don’t see much point in me collecting audio cassettes. I do think they are neat, and I do think they can still serve some purpose. But on the whole I would rather own my music on vinyl or CD. Now I don’t have the best audio equipment in the world, and cassette technology is somewhere where I pay the least attention. For a while I had a half-decent separates system to listen to tapes on, but that has since long gone. Now I use a myriad of portable devices (walkmans, boomboxes and cassette-corders) to do the job. Why? Because they are usually small and their portability means that I can store them away when I don’t need them. I also think they’re pretty darn neat.
So why make these posts? Why buy cassettes? And particularly, why are you buying home recorded tapes that would otherwise be destined to a landfill?
Because I find media archaeology fun!
Anyway, enough talking – let’s start: