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Getting our music fix in the 70s

What hasn’t changed is our eagerness to explore and exchange the music we make and enjoy, no matter what year it happens to be

One thing for sure is that music in the 70s was just as important to Americans as it is today. Yet, we couldn’t stream your favorite artists because there was no Spotify, no iTunes, no Cloud, no Internet. Listeners were more likely to hear their favorite songs on someone else’s terms (and time).

Home Stereo systems
Most homes in America had some kind of stereo system. It could be a small table ensemble of audio devices, or a large wall-covering armada of more elaborate electronic paraphernalia design to do the exact same thing. This usually included a turntable for playing vinyl records, an amplifier for increasing sound volume, an AM/FM radio and on more upscale versions an audio equalizer, to adjust the texture of the music being reproduced.

Cassettes, 8 Track and the Sony Walkman

sony walkman
Source: Pixabay

The Advent Corporation developed the Advent Model 200, the first high-fidelity cassette deck, in 1970 by combining the Dolby B noise reduction system with chromium dioxide (CrO2) tape.

A typical top-loading design with piano key controls, twin VU meters, and slider level adjustments was used by the majority of producers. The next common format emerged in the late 1970s, and it was front-loading with a cassette well on one side and two VU meters on the other, followed by dual cassette decks with meters in the middle.

The use of cassette decks quickly spread, and they were created for a variety of purposes, including portable recorders, home audio systems, mobile use in cars, and professional applications. The cassette deck was the go-to music player for the car from the mid-1970s until the late 1990s. Similar to an 8-track cartridge, it was largely unaffected by vehicle motion. However, it had less tape flutter and the apparent benefits of being smaller and having fast forward/rewind functionality.

With the introduction of the Sony Walkman “personal” cassette player in 1979, which was created expressly as a headphone-only ultra-compact “wearable” music source, the cassette received a significant rise in popularity. Despite the fact that the great majority of these players that were ultimately sold were not Sony products, the term “Walkman” has come to represent this particular class of gadget.

Eventually, cassette decks were produced by practically all well-known home audio brands and numerous professional audio companies, with each offering extremely high-quality units.

Old fashion Car Radio
In the 2020s, most automobiles are equipped with Bluetooth, Satellite radio or a software mechanism to connect your phone into your car’s audio system. In the 1970s, if you didn’t have a new car with a tape deck pre-installed, you were left with a simple car radio, and many of those radios were only AM!

Even TV

Vintage TV
Source: Pixabay

Many of us got news of the week’s top-ten hits not from radio, but from television. Soul Train. Dave Clark, Ed Sullivan, Lloyd Thaxton, Austin City Limits all brought weekly (and even daily) music shows into living rooms all across America.   So yes, when it comes to music consumption, things have changed a little. What hasn’t changed is our eagerness to explore and exchange the musical art we make and enjoy, no matter what year it happens to be. – All Indie Radio 

Portions of this article were derived from Wikipedia content using the Creative Commons License CC-BY SA 3.0 which can be found here.

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