Believe it or not, cassettes are still around in the audio market. Audio cassettes, cassette tapes or simply cassettes lurk in the shadows of CDs and MP3 players. Cassettes continue to serve a variety of specialized purposes where other technology cannot replace them.
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Audio cassettes are small rectangular-shaped plastic cases that contain two spools with magnetic tape, where data is stored. Audio cassettes were introduced to the public in the 1960s. According to the Content Delivery and Storage Association, the sale of blank cassettes peaked in 1994 with the sale of 438.9 million tapes.
Cassette tapes are still in production despite the development of digital audio technology. They are used for audio books for the blind and have several advantages over other audio media. Cassette tapes come equipped with a label in Braille so that a blind person may read what the tape contains. Cassettes also start from the position where they were stopped enabling a blind person to move the cassette from one player to another without losing his place. Cassettes are also common in court recordings.
Cassette players are more difficult to find than CD or MP3 players in most retail stores. Finding cassettes is also not as easy as buying CDs or downloading MP3 audio files because many stores no longer carry them or carry a limited selection. Portable cassette players are bulkier and heavier than MP3 players and cannot hold the quantity of music than digital players can.
Video cassettes are similar to audio cassettes, but they are larger and made to record and replay video. Video cassettes were released to the public in the 1970s and contained movies or were blank for home recording purposes. Video cassettes are also a dated technology and have largely been replaced by digital DVDs.