Celebrating the person who changed the way we listened to music
A major inventor in making music more accessible has passed away. Lou Ottens died this week at the age of 94. He was instrumental in creating the cassette tape, which allowed millions of us to create and produce our own mixtapes.
That technology was huge for anyone who appreciated music. It allowed us to record our favorite songs from our favorite vinyl albums. Soon all music was available on the cassette tape. It also allowed us to create mixtapes for our significant other. Sending powerful, emotional songs through the power of cassettes. Lou worked for Phillips Electronics and was born and died in the Netherlands.
The cassette tape for me was essential and became a mission to create killer mixtapes. I wanted the 120 minute tapes and paid a little more for Maxell or another high quality tape. I recorded party tapes, romantic tapes, Jersey music tapes and rock and roll tapes.
I recorded Bruce Springsteen's King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1978 for the Agroa Ballroom in Cleveland, OH. I bought extra tapes as backups. It was storming that night and static would go in and out, but I got the two plus hour broadcast, still have it. I've worn that tape out back and forth, from listening to my favorite songs to playing the whole concert. I wanted that recording to be perfect.
Not only did Lou invent the cassette tape, he also pioneered the compact disk. Lou Ottens wanted to create music that could fit into your pocket. The prototype for the cassette was a wooden block that Lou carried in his pocket. The cassette tape became a reality in 1972 and sold more than 100 billion cassettes. One hundred billion!
As a big fan of music I'm very grateful for Lou Ottens. His brilliant mind in making music more accessible and portable. Rest in peace Lou Ottens, job well done.