What to Do With Audio Cassette tapes?

I have about 120 of them-with a lot of good music. I don’t have a car deck anymore. Is this format dead? Nobody seems to use them anymore. Will these tapes eventually become unplayable?

Throw them away? I can’t imagine even thrift stores want them much, anymore. Last weekend we went through a bunch of my girlfriend’s old cassettes. She kept a few, I took a few (i still have a tape deck in my car), and the rest got tossed.

Yes they will. I’ve got 30 year old cassette tapes, many of which have had it. Luckily I put the important ones on high quality tape, and the others I’ve got CDs of. You can convert them to MP3s lots of ways. Here is some advice that looks good. Since my laptop doesn’t have an audio input jack, I bought a little piece of hardware ($50) which does the conversion. The advantage of that is that it works for LPs also.

I have one cassette made in 1977 that still plays. That’s 31 years… not bad at all. Since it is a priceless family archive, I only play it in the rare occasions that I feel justified in trying a new and supposedly better technique to convert it to a digital format. If you play them regularly, or if you leave them in your car where the elements can affect them, they will go bad eventually. The tape will stretch, the case will warp, or the tape will crinkle and get eaten by the player. As far as deterioration in a climate controlled environment, I haven’t found any good numbers.

It’s a moderate pain in the arse to digitize them. There are many guides on the internet that propose different ways, here is one good link .

Ooh, ooh, send them to me. My car only has a tape deck, and when one of the 2 stations I get aren’t playing music (often), they are yelling inane Japanese phrases. Apparently Japan hasn’t quite caught on to the fact that people like listening to music, as DJs will often talk over the music or cut songs short.

Seriously though, I think Goodwill still takes them. The real question is what should my parents do with their 8 track player and all of the cassettes for that?

You can bet a cassette tape drive to read their contents into your computer… and then there’s the USB cassette deck.

Give them to charity. Lots of people, including me, still have cassette players and are glad to buy them cheap. For that matter, don’t throw your records away either. Lots of people collect records.

My car has both a tape deck and a CD player. Once I went on some car audio forum and asked if there were any good tape head-units so that I could keep my outboard CD player (and not have two), and they acted like I was completely insane.

I think audiobooks are better on tape than CD. They don’t scratch, you can toss them on the floor or passenger seat, and they keep their place if you stop or eject them. For that matter, music on tape isn’t bad for in a car. That’s the only place I’ve listened to tapes in recent years.

Donate them to your local VIC-20 users’ group.

I have this device.


A USB turntable that has a jack you can plug your cassette player into. I have copied many tapes to my computer and it works great. My experience is the music will sound just as good as the tape even better because the software can clean it up a little. Once in my computer I made CDs and imported the music to my I-pod so now all my mix tapes from 35 years ago are now on my I-pod. Very Sweet! The cost of my turntable has been reduced and if you have any LPs or 45s you can convert those as well. Good Luck.