Erika noted: >>I used to just look through those Columbia Music House ads and fantasize about joining... that was pretty cool. >>You KNEW that they'd ream you if they got a chance though Yeah - which you learned the very first time you forget to send that "No don't bother sending me anything this month, thanks" postcard back to them and got stuck with paying for their 'selection of the month'! ICK! >>I never could understand why a person would BUY an album on cassette... Budget. I didn't have the coin for 8-track media OR players and ripping from my parent's Sears mono player (even after threatening everything in the house to keep quiet) while okay through external speakers - was total crap under headphones. Smaller siblings means no loud music without headphones. Smaller siblings and animals also tends to mean vibrations which translate into scratched records. >>they were practically the same price as records and apt to self-destruct at any moment Destruction? I usually didn't play off batteries, but if I did and the batteries got low they would stretch the tape and screw it up. (My poor Uriah Heep tape! *sniffle*) The only other issue I ran into was 'time'. Given enough time (years and years) the oxide coating will peel off the mylar ... and your music goes with it. [Just threw out my last few cassettes recently actually!] <music equipment geek moment /> Although it was pretty much a textbook flop, I thought the L-Cassette format was pretty neat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elcaset >>My first ripped music was Beatles compilations made by placing a tape deck between the speakers. Heh. I had the kid across the street rip to reel-to-reel for me cuz they had a really nice Teac.  Then I took the tape home and it sounded like crap. We took tapes back and forth across the street all day long. Anything that sounded good on my machine sounded terrible on his. Anything that sounded good on his was abysmal on mine. We were very confused little monkeys! Then we carried my machine over to his house and ran the two decks side by side. Eureka! It turned out that my deck (a hand-me-down from my grandfather) was a Columbia made in the 1930's. Before standards. Before standards on which way the tape travels! !!! So basically my machine ran backwards! ;-( RonL.  Actually they had a buddy who was a regional Radio Shack manager - so he had the keys to every Radio Shack store in town! Booyah! This was back when stores closed at 5pm on Saturday and stayed closed all day Sunday. We'd run up to the mall on Saturday after 6, load up the station wagon with the latest 4-track sound-on-sound sound-with-sound Teac decks, the nicest AKC mikes available and head back to strike up the band! ;-) ... And run it all back to the store late Sunday night! Good times! Yes, we *did* have to talk to the nice men in blue uniforms once or twice ... but it was cool!