New cassette player aims to resurge tape culture

New cassette player aims to resurge tape culture

Lithuanian concept Elbow hopes to get users back in love with tapes with a novel and stylish device that plays cassettes without any housing.

Vinyl is a medium that’s always had a fan base regardless of the emergence of CDs and digital music. A combination of nostalgic romance and modern concepts like the smart turnable (which digitises the medium via Spotify streaming and internet sharing) and a service turning MP3s into wax show just how much the medium is cherished. But the trusty old tape has been less fortunate and banished to the attic for most. Elbow is hoping to change that.

Designed by Lithuanian audiovisual design outfit BrainMonk, Elbow’s incredibly minimal design eradicates all the housing of traditional players and clips over the cassette. Mechanically it’s stripped down to a single pulley to move the tape, and a biaxal arm that inserts into either reel controlling which side to play. The arm has a dial which controls play, volume and can fast forward the tape to varying speeds. The unit also has a 3.5mm jack for headphones or a stereo hook-up, and a miniUSB so customers can connect it to a computer.

It’s also got a pin so it can easily be attached to clothing. It’s being pushed as much as a fashion statement as a musical player, and Elbow is hoping users will wear their music with pride.

It’s a bold idea, and the company recently concluded a public survey (which it’s currently processing) to decide on the product’s future. The only innovation we’ve seen of late that shows there’s still love for the old tape is the cassette-themed digital card to give users a nostalgic taste of the old medium. While the jury’s out on whether tapes could find a resurge for music, retro gaming is a huge industry. Could it find its user base among Spectrum ZX81 and Commodore 64 owners?

Website: elbow.co.nf