I found this image while using Stumbleupon and I couldn’t but share it with you, especially that I have been thinking about writing a post on the “death” of cassettes and CDs thanks to the widespread popularity of iPods and mp3 players for a while now.
I remember about 10 years ago, I used to be the proud owner of a pink-red Sony Walkman on which I used to play all my Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and other pop group cassettes on. Though it was bulky in comparison to my current choice of music player (an iPod nano 3rd generation), I used to carry it everywhere I went, with a spare tape in tow, just in case I got bored of listening to the same thing over and over again.
And even though, in my early teenage years, I transitioned to the CD player, I still obsessively made mix tapes. It was always a matter of waiting for Radio One to play the latest song stuck in my head and rushing to record it, then playing then over and over again. The last time I made a mix-tape, it was in 2004, meaning I was 13 years old, and I only abandoned the practice because I started ordering custom-made mix CDs from a nearby shop. That would soon be followed by buying a first generation iPod shuffle, discovering downloading, replacing the shuffle with a 2nd generation iPod nano, then having to replace it with the current one I have when it would no longer function.That was a sad day, because I had not backed up the 500 or so songs I had, and had to download everything all over again.
There was also the aspect of anxiously waiting for MTV and VH1 to air the latest video clips, interviews, award shows, and bits of news of our favorite artists. I also kept a spare VHS tape on hand to record all those, sometimes so I could later learn the dance moves, without much success, or to swoon over Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys fame.
I have no idea where those tapes are at the moment. It’s possible they were either thrown away or recorded over. But I do know that before the advent of Youtube, this was the only way for me, and other musically-obsessed of my generation to follow up on what was going on. These tapes were more than just yet another piece of junk, as they may be regarded now.
But the VHS, the cassette, and even the CD, are obsolete now. If your VCR breaks down, good luck finding a replacement or a spare part. If you want to buy a cassette, chances are this will not be an easy task at all. But if you’re looking for any song, and I mean, absolutely any song, all it takes is a quick Google search of its name, artist, or even lyrics, and there you have it.
And I’m sure that while you were growing up, you would’ve never imagined that you could carry your entire music and video library in a device that can easily fall out of your pocket. I know I didn’t, though now I can’t leave the house without it.
Despite all that, I still get nostalgic whenever I open the cassette drawer and see over 20 mix tapes that I spent hours compiling looking back at me. Laugh all you want, but I’m actually proud of growing up in that transitional phase and being exposed to all these forms of recording devices. It just makes me disappointed to know that an average 13 year old now doesn’t know anything but mp3s, which aren’t even of good quality. And if they want to watch any video clip, interview, or appearance, all they have to do is log onto Youtube, and for some reason, I’m not surprised that the most viewed artist is Lady Gaga, especially that MTV used to thrive on controversy. Youtube now is no different.
But you know what’s funny? Ten years from now, the iPod and Youtube are going to be replaced with things we tech-savvy people won’t know how to operate and our kids are going to be laughing at us. Oh well, like the French say, C’est La Vie.