Would you take a trip with me back in time?
Imagine it’s the late 1960s. You’re wearing pastels and circle-rimmed glasses, just like your favorite Beatle would. You’re in high school, and you’re totally in love with the grooviest guy or gal in your chemistry lab. That hair and those eyes have got you swooning, and you can’t think straight. Your friends have tried setting you two up to no avail. You’ve already tried plucking flower petals and wishing on stars, but they still haven’t fallen in love with you yet. So what would you do in the ‘60s if you were crushing hard and needed to make your feelings known?
Well, thanks to technology and the Phillips corporation, you would totally make your crush a mixtape using their compact cassette!
Before 1962, the compact cassette was nonexistent. Music was distributed mainly on vinyl records and radio, with some live performances of popular bands premiering on television. These mediums of music were revolutionary for the age; however, as technology and time progressed, the public required more sophisticated inventions to bring entertainment to their lives. Vinyl records weren’t very portable and had no capability of being listened to on the go. Tech companies recognized the need for more accessibility to music, and in 1962 a breakthrough occurred when the first compact cassette was created by the Phillips Corporation.
Shortly after it’s inception, the compact cassette was distributed all over the world and music was everywhere! Due to its small size, you could carry a cassette in your pocket to school or work to show off the newest Rolling Stones album. You could even record a mix of your favorite songs onto a cassette, which became known as a “mixtape.” It was the perfect way to express individuality and creativity through music.
In the early 1970s, car manufacturers were beginning to install cassette players into their vehicles, and it wasn’t long before millions of folks were listening to their favorite tapes in the car. Even today, lots of people still own cars with tape players in them. The final major invention that accompanied the cassette tape was the Walkman, which debuted in 1979. The Walkman was the first totally portable cassette tape player. It held just one cassette at a time and sported an audio jack for headphones. For the first time in history, people could listen to their favorite albums and mixtapes while walking, jogging, and running errands.
The accessibility and portability of the cassette tape made it one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. It revolutionized the way we listen to music and paved the way for some of the great technologies we have today, such as smartphones and music streaming services. Without the compact cassette, who knows where music would be today?