It was in 1962 that Philips invented the Compact Cassette medium for audio storage and only a year later in 1963, with the cassette player, that audio files and listening to music became portable. In its early years, the sound quality was mediocre, but as soon as it caught up with the quality of 8-track tape in the early 1970s did its sound start to improve.
Popularity and mixtapes
Although its invention was in the early 1960s, because the sound quality of the early cassette players was not well suited for music, it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that its cultural popularity took off. As a result, stereo tape decks, cassette players, and boomboxes became the most highly sought-after products of both decades. Because of the convenience cassette players brought to listening music anywhere, homemade mixtapes started becoming a trend in the 1980s. This is a compilation of music recorded onto a cassette tape. It may include a selection of favorite songs, music by theme or mood, or sometimes tailored to the tape’s intended recipient. People became creative and started beatmatching the songs and creating overlaps and fades between the end of one song and the beginning of another that essayist Geoffrey O’Brien, in 2004, called these personal mixtapes “perhaps the most widely practiced American art form.” Do you remember creating your own mixtapes or giving one to friends to share your music with? Or perhaps rewinding a cassette tape with a pencil? Those were the days!