Filled with good time humor and honky tonk, rock and roll cheer, Pete Rizzo, aka Sneaky Pete, was a biology professor at Texas A&M University before retiring to the Knoxville, TN area. His music always provides some chuckles and grins for me as he pokes fun at different aspects of society and trends. He also dabbles in holiday material which is fun stuff too.
I remember the major changes in commercial audio recordings, from 45 rpm vinyl to CDs. The sequence was (1) 45 rpm vinyl, (2) 33 1/3 rpm vinyl, (3) reel-to-reel magnetic tape, (4) cassette magnetic tape, (5) CD. Eight track magnetic tapes came in somewhere between vinyl recordings and cassettes, but didn’t last very long.
The major advance in going from vinyl to magnetic tape was that “garage band type” musicians could record their music easier and cheaper than making vinyl recordings. But being rather bulky, these reel-to-reel tapes were not often traded with other musicians, or used for personal sales. This all changed when the cassette tapes came out. The small, compact nature of the cassette made it much easier for independent musicians to trade their music with their peers, and also to sell their music to people at live performances, as well as personal sales. In addition, cassettes made it easier for independent musicians to mail their music to radio stations for possible airplay. The cassette was also the first type of audio recording to be used in automobiles. Playing cassettes in cars became so popular that many professional recording studios did the final mix of a recording through speakers that would sound best in car cassette players.
As for myself, I used cassettes for trading with other musicians (local and through the mail), selling my music at live shows, and sending my music to DJs for possible airplay at radio stations. I entered the cassette culture sometime during the mid eighties, and continued until cassettes were largely replaced by CDs. My 2004 minivan has a cassette player (as well as a CD player), and I still use it. I don’t think many vehicles come with cassette players any more.
Trading cassettes with local musicians and sending them to DJs was exciting, because the cassette format made this practice easy for the first time. Now we do the same thing, but with CDs. The era of the cassette is all but gone now, but I still keep them around. A growing practice for “preserving” your cassettes is to transfer the contents to a computer, and burn CDs. This doesn’t improve the quality of the music, but at least preserves it in it’s present state.