Lou Ottens was 94 years old

The Inventor of the Cassette Tape has Died

In the early 1960s, Lou Ottens, as head of product development at Philips, invented the "compact cassette", which would go on to become one of the most important technologies for music and media in the following decades. Last weekend, Ottens passed away at the age of 94.

An estimated 100 billion cassette tapes are said to have been sold worldwide, especially in the years before the breakthrough of the compact disc. After that, sales figures fell continuously – until a cassette revival seemingly began in recent years: According to the German Music Industry Association, the number of cassettes sold in Germany increased by 36.8% in 2019, for the first time in years. According to information from the Official UK Charts Company and BPI (the British Phonographic Industry), cassette sales in 2020 in the UK are even expected to have increased by almost 95% in comparison to the preceding year.

Thus, it seems that Lou Ottens' legacy will continue to enrich the world of music in the future. STEREO commemorates one of the music industry's most important inventors.


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