With Say So Long to an Old Companion:
Cassettes have limped along for some time, partly because of their usefulness in recording conversations or making a tape of favorite songs, say, for a girlfriend. But sales of portable tape players, which peaked at 18 million in 1994, sank to 480,000 in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The group predicts that sales will taper to 86,000 in 2012.I'm surprised they hung on as long as they did.
“I bet you would be hard pressed to find a household in the U.S. that doesn’t have at least a couple cassette tapes hanging around,” said Shawn DuBravac, an economist with the Consumer Electronics Association. Even if publishers of music and audio books stopped using cassettes entirely, people would still shop for tape players because of “the huge libraries of legacy content consumers have kept,” he said.
As long as people keep mix tapes from a high-school sweetheart up in the attic, Mr. DuBravac said, there will still be the urge to hear them. “People have a tremendous amount of installed content and an innate curiosity when coming across a box of tapes to say, ‘Hey, what’s on these?’ ” he said.