The Sun Finally Sets on the Car Radio Cassette Player
The music companies have been worrying about how physical CD sales have been tanking over the last 10 years to the point that the CD is now an endangered species. In an environment such as this, imagine what it must be like to be a cassette tape aux cord tape enthusiast? Do they even have radio cassette player decks in cars anymore? And that is a question that is particularly relevant at a time when even CD players in cars need to be an afterthought. The radio cassette player has finally been shown its marching papers. The very last car with one of these, a Lexus SC430, has just been driven off a car dealership somewhere. That’s it – as good a run as the radio cassette player had, it’s finally time to say goodbye and join the ranks of the eight-track cassette players and in-car gramophone players.
The cassette tape was never actually meant to last this long; it wasn’t even meant to play music at all. The cassette tape was invented by Philips for use in office dictation machines. The music industry took one look at it and completely fell for it. Over the years, there have been all kinds of improvements made to the medium to help it make do at an application it was not designed for. Dolby noise reduction, better tape quality, and all kinds of other improvements made and the medium somewhat acceptable. But cassette tapes were hardly meant for adequate long-term use. The tape stretched, grew brittle and lost its ability to reproduce high frequencies over time. Still, it was always a far better choice than eight track (that really didn’t do well in cars). It certainly had a great run for about a quarter century.
There certainly is a nostalgic connection that most people must feel to the faithful old medium. It’s been something you’ve always expected to see in your car even if it was together with the newer technology that CD player provided. Cassette tapes were always there – and they were a great way to listen to stuff in the car that you made at home. Car makers though have no time for nostalgia. In America, there are no car makers at this time who offer radio cassette players in their cars. Not even Lexus anymore.
As ubiquitous as CD players are in cars today, in a world filled with 64GB thumb drives and smartphones t