Why 8-track failed?


When 8-track tapes come out to the public access, it seemed like a bliss compared to huge and immobile vinyl records. Listening habits have instantly changed: we could listen to music in cars and with portable 8-track players AKA boomboxes. People even thought the ear of vinyl was over, but in reality, it was completely the other way round. Within a decade, 8-track tapes where history. What happened? Why so? Here are some reasons for that:

8-track was unreliable

The key reason 8-track vanished from the shelves of record stores was because it was unreliable in use. They were made to last just a little bit of time. New tapes used to be OK, they wouldn't melt under the sun or whatever. It's the internal parts that would fall into piece after some time. Provided the manufacturers had chosen high-quality construction, 8-track could've lasted longer.


They wouldn't work properly in cars

Every car owner felt the happiness of buying an 8-track to listen while driving. They also felt pain from realizing the stereo could easily eat a tape. Again, the problem was in their construction. Imagine a tape wreck during your favorite part of some song.
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8-tracks fade out

8-track tapes consisted of 4 track, each in stereo which equals 8. That meant all tracks had to be of the same length, which usually wouldn't correspond to the original LP. That's why some tracks had to be split into equal parts, thus – terrible fade out and in.


You couldn't rewind

Not being able to rewind was a pain-in-the-ass as all 8-track tapes would eventually become an infinite loop of 8 track until it just cracks. That could easily drive anyone mad as listening to the same tracks, with the same fade out is just annoying. They had to be at least a pause, or whatever.  While some considered loop to be an advantage, my parents totally hated it.
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Cassettes were cheaper

Price is always a game-changing feature of any product. Enhanced by the ability to be rewound and portability that Sony Walkman would offer, cassettes doomed the chance of 8-track tapes to exist in the late 70's. Cassettes and 8-track looked similar, they both had tape, but people were too annoyed by the obvious flaws of 8-track, so they disappeared for good.


Those were good times, but technology always changes and improves, so 8-track just got replaced by something more advanced. Just like CD surpassed cassettes, and then MP3 surpassed CDs. It's development, and it's great it happens.