Happy 50th Birthday, Compact Cassette! (Remember Them?)

Netherlands based technology firm Philips, the innovator behind Compact Cassette technology, is celebrating the cassette’s golden anniversary, maintaining that few inventions have been as culturally meaningful during the last 50 years as the compact cassette. It provided a portable and inexpensive way to capture moments in time and ultimately, helped shape the music industry, popular culture, politics, and the way we live today.

Philips notes that the romance, impact and nostalgia of the compact cassette can be seen in many popular movies and books, including High Fidelity (both the book and film), Wayne’s World, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Clockwork Orange, Electrick Children and Say Anything.

Not so jolly is that the 1979 Iran revolution was fueled by the audio cassette tape,mwith ecorded tapes of Ayatollah Khomeini’s sermons in Najaf distributed through the underground, undermining the House of Pahlavi’s secular regime.

In addition, Philips notes that the “Cassette Scandal” of 2000 was one of the main political events in Ukraine’s post-independence history, centering on accusations against the then-standing president Kuchma regarding his involvement in an abduction and other crimes – all caught on cassette tapes in secret conversations. The audio revelations dramatically changed the country’s domestic and foreign policy following the scandal.

For more information, including the history of the cassette, it’s impact on popular culture, archived photos and advertisements, visit:

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