Audio Cassette Tapes – Toss, Keep, or Transfer to Digital?

Audio Cassette Tapes – Toss, Keep, or Transfer to Digital?

cassette tape - audio tape transfer

With a name like Video Impact people are often surprised to learn that we also work with audio cassette tapes.  And, in fact, transferring audio tapes to CD (or other digital format) has become one of our most popular services.

Folks of a certain age will remember audio cassette tapes burst on the scene in the early 1970s.  By the 1980s, pre-recorded audio tape sales exceeded sales of LPs (vinyl record albums).  In 1990 alone, over 442 million pre-recorded audio cassette tapes were sold!  So, with these sales figures in mind, there seems to be a pretty good chance you have a few old cassette tapes hanging around somewhere.

Transfer Cassette Tapes to Digital

The tapes that we’re asked to transfer fall into 2 categories:

1)  Pre-recorded – tapes that have been produced and recorded commercially, such as as album done by a professional singer.

commercial cassette tape - audio tape transfer

2) Home recordings – tapes that were recorded by individuals or groups that were never for sale commercially.  Examples of these types of tapes would be a family history interview with a grandparent, a mix tape that you made yourself, or an audio recording of a wedding ceremony.

home cassette tape - audio tape transfer

Whichever category your audio cassette tapes fall into, you should be aware that after about 20 years your tapes will begin to deteriorate.  If you wish to preserve the contents of your tape for future listening, you should consider a conversion to a digital format.  When converting your tape to digital there are 2 options that people typically consider:

1)  Transfer to a CD – you’ll then be able to easily listen to your recording using a CD player.

2)  Transfer to an mp3 file – these types of files give you a lot of flexibility allowing you to play them on computers and other devices, and they are easy to share via email or uploading.

Both CDs and mp3 are popular options, it just depends on what your needs are.

So, dust off those old tapes and decide if you want to preserve them, and if you do, just don’t wait too long to do it. . .


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