Sony Reveals Cassette Tape That Can Hold Millions of Songs

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 05.05.14 in News

The tape revival just got taken to another level, with word of a new commercially available Sony cassette that can hold 185 terabytes of data. That’s about 148 gigabytes per square inch, or 74 times the storage capacity of a normal cassette. To give you an idea of what that means to normal people outside the International Magnetics Conference where the iPod killer — at least until we find out it costs thousands of dollars — was announced, here are a few points of comparison from an ExtremeTech post (via Consequence of Sound):

– It’s three Blu-rays’ worth of data per square inch. Or, a total of 3,700 Blu-rays on a single tape. That’s a stack of boxes that would be nearly 15 feet high.

– A single tape holds five more TB than this hard drive storage array, which has to be custom-made and runs for $9,305.

– A total of 64,750,000 songs. If the average song is, say, three minutes, that’s enough music to last you 8,093,750 days.

– The entirety of the Library of Congress represents about 10 total TB. One tape can hold 18.5 versions of the Library of Congress.

Whether this thing looks like the greatest mixtape ever or a not-so-sexy slab of compressed data remains to be seen. Either way, Gizmodo says, “The tape uses a vacuum-forming technique called sputter deposition to create a layer of magnetic crystals by shooting argon ions at a polymer film substrate. The crystals, measuring just 7.7 nanometers on average, pack together more densely than any other previous method.”

We don’t know what any of that means either, but here’s a short film on cassette culture by Noisey…