It’s hard to say it, I hate to say it, but according to this recent story in the New York Times, the compact cassette has finally died in the marketplace.
Cassettes have limped along for some time, partly because of their usefulness in recording conversations or making a tape of favorite songs, say, for a girlfriend. But sales of portable tape players, which peaked at 18 million in 1994, sank to 480,000 in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The group predicts that sales will taper to 86,000 in 2012.
Nowadays, listening to music on cassettes is a dying pastime. None of Billboard’s Top 10 albums last week were issued on cassette, though half were released on vinyl, which has been resurging. Last year, only 400,000 music tapes were sold, representing one-tenth of 1 percent of all physical and digital music sales, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. In 1997, the figure was 173 million, and that was when cassettes were already getting a drubbing by CDs. (The iPod wasn’t introduced until 2001.) [NYTimes.com]