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8-Tracks Were More Popular Than Digital Albums Are

For some reason, the fine folks at Digital Music News have compiled a chart to show that 8-track albums, the alternative to Vinyl in the '70s, were more popular in their day than digital albums are right now. Okay, I guess, but that ignores a bunch of things, namely that the alternative to digital albums is FREE, which means buying them costs real money, whereas when you were buying an 8-track, you saved money vs. a record. I'd be more interested in the numbers of free, illegally downloaded albums vs. the total sales of all albums ever. I bet the gap isn't much. [DMN]

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and yet records have outlasted 8tracks, tapes, and cd's and are still being made regardless of digital.


I would also venture to say that 8-tracks' popularity should also be considered in the light of the convenience (and thereby sheer novelty) of the format when it arrived. Unlike records, one didn't need to flip it over to hear the rest of the album, and also 8-tracks didn't require advance threading like reel-to-reels. Just push the cassette in and go about your day/evening/party/business. After going through the four 'chapters,' it also offered continuous play. Additionally, 8-tracks were the first portable media adopted outside of the home, as some cars were equipped with players.

Of course, then pre-recorded cassettes came along, and players that automatically switched over to play the other side, becoming the format du jour before the advent of CDs (which offered a record-like convenience of cueing up whatever song you'd like).


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