Story 2016-06-15 1H7HM Tour the very last audio cassette factory

Tour the very last audio cassette factory

in hardware on (#1H7HM)
The last audio cassette company in the country held on tight as its former competitors abandoned cassettes for CD production. Now that analog has begun to make a comeback, the National Audio Company, or NAC, owns its market and is making more cassettes than ever before. When everyone jumped on the CD boat in the late 90s, NAC wasn't hurt because its customers were mostly spoken-word performers and people just buying blank media. So the company began slowly buying and rehabbing its competitors' equipment. "We were preparing ourselves to pick the music market up when it came back, and that's exactly what happened." Now NAC is making cassettes for Metallica, a special release of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, and what looks like countless basement recordings from smaller bands.

Banking so heavily on retro nostalgia is tricky, because what's retro and what's just old changes fairly often. Watch the full video, from Bloomberg.
Reply 8 comments

Old tech (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-06-15 03:01 (#1H7SB)

In some countries tape players are king. Even today.

I grew up with tapes (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-06-15 10:07 (#1H8KZ)

Like many of us, I grew up with tapes during the early days of CDs. I don't understand why people would want to go back to that.

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2016-06-15 14:30 (#1H9DE)

It was actually a lot easier to make mixed tapes than it was to make mixed CDs. Almost every tape player I think I've ever had had an input jack and a record button, or you could just record off the radio. I don't think you could easily record music from the radio with a CD player and you needed specialized hardware to get the radio to play on a PC... Although now that I think of it, you likely could have played from the speaker jack on a radio to the mic jack on a PC and recorded that way. Still would be easier to just hit record on the tape player though, and it's not like the radio doesn't play "popular" songs TO DEATH!!! If you missed it just wait ten minutes...

In fact screw recording the songs, by the time the radio stations got through with them you didn't want to ever hear them again anyway. So much better now with the internet, you get a huge variety (for free) and practically never have to listen to the same thing twice ever, unless you want too.

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2016-06-16 00:30 (#1HB83)

There were numerous stand-alone CD recorders which would allow you to record to disc linearly just like an old cassette tape recorder. They weren't popular because being able to mix, edit, etc., on your PC before recording, as well as record bit-exact (audio or data), make copies, and record faster than real-time were such huge benefits.

Plus CD-Recorders were expensive, just like cassette recorders were when they first appeared. Now you can get dirt-cheap CD burners, but nobody wants them... Everybody has moved on to solid-state audio recording with microSD cards or similar if they still have a need to record at all (most don't, and just "download" audio already digitized).

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-06-16 10:16 (#1HCCR)

I find it very difficult to listen to streaming music in the middle of a desert. Perhaps I should drag an ethernet cable behind me or something

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 1)

by on 2016-06-16 11:34 (#1HCJW)

You could record or download music to a laptop or a phone or even an MP3 player to take with you. MP3 players are dirt cheap now and can last a pretty long time. You could also get an expanded battery pack to take with you to have music for days. Maybe find an MP3 player with an SD slot on it, I know they exist. Then get a 32 GB SD, which are also cheap and will hold a ton of music, or splurge on a 256 GB SD for a shit ton of music. I'd just buy a bunch of smaller SDs though, two or three of them would probably hold more music than you could listen to in a week.

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2016-06-17 20:11 (#1HHZA)

Although now that I think of it, you likely could have played from the speaker jack on a radio to the mic jack on a PC and recorded that way.
Maybe you're joking but I actually happened to be doing exactly that 20 years ago. I also used that setting to record the output of an old LP turntable to save impossible-to-find (or so I thought at the time) old records. Hours of hand-cleaning of crackles for each track ensued.

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 1)

by on 2016-06-20 11:16 (#1HS0F)

I just never thought of it before, although that's how I use to do some mixed tapes. I'd connect one tape player to another over the mic-head jacks so I could play on one while recording on the other. I even suggested it once to a guy that ask me how he could record a song he wanted for his wedding from YouTube and I suggested getting a double ended cable to connect the headphone to the microphone jack on his PC.

Never occurred to me until that comment that I could have connected a tape player to the PC, but I guess that's because I never had reason to do it. It was such a short time from when we switched from tapes to CDs to when Napster became available, then YouTube and now we have all kinds for services for getting music without the hassle of waiting for it to be played on the radio. You can listen to anything you want now whenever you feel like it.