TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 55: Iain Taylor and the Cassette

Vinyl gets plenty of love in the 21st century even though streaming offers plenty of convenience and stability, while the venerable CD quietly sits waiting for someone to rediscover it. But what’s left for the cassette?

In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Iain Taylor who joins us all the way from Birmingham City University in the UK. Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries, and a researcher within the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. As an educator, Iain teaches primarily on the Music Industries degree, leading modules which explore the cultural and emotive value of music, and how this translates into the business models and intellectual property rights of the music industries.

Earlier this year, Dr. Taylor wrote an article at The Conversation website titled, “Audio cassettes: despite being ‘a bit rubbish,’ sales have doubled during the pandemic – here’s why.” In that article, he explores the origins of the cassette and even the fact that the medium was more – or less – disowned by its creator. However, for all of their awkwardness and their inferior sound quality, cassettes still hold a place in the hearts of those who collect physical media, if only as a way for human beings to connect with something tangible, something real.

So, join Dr. Taylor and me as we explore the cassette from points of view nostalgic, economic, and humanistic. Cassettes may bring back some warm memories of days gone by, but no one looks forward to respooling a tape that had been eaten by a player with a number 2 pencil.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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