The Great Debate: The CD or the Tape! Which was Better?

In this new digital age of music, music itself has never been easier to obtain.  Just like great rock bands put out greatest hits albums from time to time to pay homage to their classic songs, this blog post is dedicated to two classic audio media formats that existed before the digital age.  The CD and the Cassette Tape!  For sake of continuity we will go in chronological order, starting with the tape!

The Compact Cassette Tape

People were getting tired of lugging around their huge records.  They were tired of scratching or breaking up their records because of lugging them around to friends places.  They were looking for something more durable.  The cassette tape gave them just that.  Production of tapes began in 1954 in Hanover, Germany, and remained strong until the introduction of the CD (Source:

With the introduction of the CD there were still pockets of resistance that kept their tapes around until the last possible moment


  • Tapes were durable
  • You never had to worry about scratching one
  • They were really cheap and easy to make
  • If you had a microphone you could pretty much make your own tapes in your living room.  Most tape players came with a recording feature
  • If the film of the tape got unwound you could always wind it back up and it would still work…just make sure there are no creases in the film.
  • You don’t have to worry about the tape skipping mid song, (unless the film is folded)

They can handle water damage.  As long as you clean them off after.  A good friend of mine went fishing once and caught a tape that was at the bottom of the lake, after he cleaned it off it still worked!


  •  You have to fast forward if you want to “skip” a song.
  • You have to guess when the next song is going to happen, this can take time.

The CD

Remember these round, flat, metal things?  They were extremely popular in the 80s and 90s and even now are one of the most popular forms of which to obtain music.  and you got to carry around those cool, bulky CD players and Ghetto Blasters (assuming your Ghetto Blaster had a CD Player included)

The first CD was manufactured as early as 1962 (Source:


  • CDs  brought more freedom and convenience to the user.  For the first time you could actually skip songs on an album if you didn’t want to hear a certain one.  You could do this much faster than with the tape.
  • You can fit more songs on a CD
  • You can make your own if you have the right gear
  • They are shiny
  • You can synthesize rainbows with them


  • If you drop one on a hard surface it might break.
  • if you scratch one it will skip during the time 
  • CDs are not as durable as tapes
  • CDs are easily scratched

So who is the real winner in this battle.  That’s up to you!  There are good things about both.

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