When people think about albums, they usually think about a product like Vinyl or Compact Disc. These days, it’s more access and less product, so the album viewpoint for my children is totally different with my viewpoint.
And while the mp3 is blamed by the record labels from bringing down the recording business which the labels called the music business, there was another technology out that changed the way we access and share music.
Say hello to the mighty compact cassette.
It allowed me to make demo after demo, mix tape after mix tape and it allowed me to copy a lot of albums from people who either had the original album or had a copy of the album from someone else who either had the original or had a copy. You get my drift. It could be an endless copying cycle.
It was first introduced in 1963 by Phillips for dictation purposes and due to their convenience and portability, by the 1980’s pre-recorded cassettes were out-selling vinyl LP’s.
Phillips also decided to give away the rights for free, instead of making money from licensing. This meant there was no incentive for other companies to create a competing format. Instead they could focus on making it sound better. That’s why you had TDK, Phillips, BASF, Sony, Phillips and many more companies making cassette tapes.
This led to cars coming with cassette players, and homes getting equipped with cassette recorders which would morph to portable cassette players and finally, the Sony Walkman.
Of course, the record labels as usual screamed loud and hard to their politician friends to pass new laws and stop this new sharing culture.
Remember their headline, “Home taping is killing music.” See how they used the term “music” instead of “record labels”. A more accurate and truthful headline would be, “Home Taping is Spreading Music to the Masses” or “Home Taping Is Spreading Music And This Leads To Increased Sales Later On”.
The local sharing culture that the Cassette tape created continued with CD-R’s and then it spread into a worldwide culture with the mp3 and Napster. And the record label machine just changed the “Home Taping” with “Piracy” and still kept pumping millions of dollars to politicians to pass the laws the labels had written.