Recordings: Riding the Reels

When the technique of tape recording was developed a quarter-century ago, it unreeled a whole new way of marketing recorded music. The best tapes had all the high fidelity of phonograph disks but none of their low resistance to wear and tear. The trouble was that they were cumbersome: wound on one reel, they had to be threaded through the playback machine onto another reel, then rewound. In the process, the hapless user could find himself struggling like Laocoon within coils of tape. Before taped music could begin to have the mass...

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