Currys kills the cassette

Blank cassettes could be used to store anything from music tracks to computer games

First PC World killed off the floppy disk . Then the old-fashioned carbon-guzzling light bulb faded into history. And now the funeral pyre has been stacked for the imminent cremation of another trusty favourite: the compact cassette tape.

In 1989 - the golden age of mix-tapes and the tape-loving Commodore 64 - Currys sold 83 million cassette tapes in the UK. In 2006, the figure dropped to just 100,000; a decline which has apparently been the final nail in the cassette's coffin.

Cassette tapes have been battling with other storage mediums like CDs and MiniDiscs for over 20 years. But it has been the soaring sales of MP3 players like iPods that have really spelt the end for the cassette, says Currys.

A classic cassette tape could hold around 90 minutes worth of songs - about enough for two albums. However, an 80GB iPod can store enough content to listen to music solidly for almost two months without having to hear the same song twice.

Mourning the loss

"I remember the tape with some fondness. The hours spent putting together compilation tapes and the all-too-familiar experience of finding that your deck had chewed your tape, will resonate with many now in their thirties and forties," said Peter Keenan, MD at Currys.

"For today's MP3 generation, it's just a few clicks of the mouse to achieve what's arguably a better outcome," he added.

Gone are the days when people would hover around their cassette recorders getting ready to tape their favourite songs off FM radio. These days, songs can be downloaded from the net ten times faster than it takes to listen to them.

It's all a bit superficial though. The compact cassette has been all-but dead since the early nineties when record companies began to sell albums on digital CDs instead of the vastly inferior analogue cassettes. Since then, the cassette has been on a steady decline and it's a wonder that it has lasted for so long. The technology is, after all, 44 years old.

And now it's dead. Solid state recording is king. All aboard the digital revolution.

James Rivington

James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.