An example of an audio cassette tape, a popular analog, magnetic format for listening to music and other audio programs.
After the record and the eight-track, but before the CD, the audio cassette was a popular way to listen to music for decades.
Although they can be traced back to the 1960s, it wasn't until technological improvements allowed magnetic audio cassettes to become a mainstream format for music distribution, recording and listening.
One of the most influential items that pushed the success of the audio cassette was the Sony Walkman, a portable audio cassette player. This caused cassettes to explode in popularity, and in the 1980s, sales of cassettes overtook those of long-play vinyl records.
The ability to record from the radio or to create mix tapes also helped audio cassettes become extremely popular. Like VHS video tapes, there was a chance for frequently-played cassettes to become jammed, tangled or damaged.
Even as the audio CD format began to come into play, it wasn't until anti-skipping technology became affordable and more common, that they began to replace cassette players in cars and in handheld, portable units. Even the CD now has begun to be overshadowed by streaming music channels and the MP3 digital file format.