Mix Tapes are for Lovers, and They’re Coming Back
Listen up, ’90s babes. I know you miss cassette tapes just as much as I do. Yeah, iPods are more convenient, and the ability to tote around your entire music collection is awesome. Making playlists that are 300 songs long is excellent for the gym and transcontinental airplane rides, and who doesn’t love the shuffle option?
But we all know cassette tapes are much, much cooler. When I was a kid, I had a bucket full of cassette tapes. Most were party mixes my parents bought me at Party City or Target with songs like “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia and No Doubt’s “I’m Just a Girl” (awww ’90s!). I also had the entire Spice Girl collection (like, two tapes) and the Titanic soundtrack because, duh. The best part about cassettes was making mix tapes of course (and if you feel like bawling you eyes out, read Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield – it’s a story about love, loss, and a lot of music). A mix tape for your bestie, a mix tape for your crush, a mix tape for yourself, because matching up your mood with the perfect mix tape is an essential part of life. Did we care when our boom box accidentally pulled the tape out? No. We just wound it back up and ignored the scratchy tunes.
Well, the cassette tape is making a comeback, and it’s bigger (literally) and better than ever! Sony has created a tape that can hold 148 gigabytes per square inch of tape. That is a grand total of 185 terrabytes of data. In normal human terms, that means it can hold about 65,000,000 songs (and 74 times the amount of data a normal cassette tape can hold). According to Consequence of Sound, just one of these mega-tapes can last you 8,093,750 days, so if you’re ever trapped on a desert island, be sure you have this musical sorcery with you. And I thought my iTunes collection was mighty.
Are you totally baffled? Me too. ITWorld explains this wizardry: “By tweaking the sputter conditions and developing a soft magnetic underlayer on the film, the manufacturer was able to create a layer of fine magnetic particles with an average size of 7.7 nanometers.” Not sure what “sputter conditions” or “magnetic underlayer” means, but I’ll take it anyway!
While these cassettes are not currently available (and once they do hit shelves, I’m guessing they’re going to be pricey), we should all be bracing ourselves and thinking about storage space for our iPods. Now, I’m not saying these tapes will be the most advantageous thing ever, (will they include a screen? How can one create a playlist? How big are these tapes? What will the sound quality be like?) or even the most logical. It also means we’ll have to carry our Walkmans around wherever we go. But honestly you guys, I’m willing to put my nostalgic needs first. All hail the mega cassette tape!