This weekend at International Magnetics Conference, Sony gave a big middle finger to vinyl revivalists by unveiling a souped-up cassette that can hold 64,750,000 songs. That’s 185 TB (148 GB per square inch), AKA a good reason for your iPod to hang itself with its earbuds.
Allow ExtremeTech to put those numbers in layman’s terms:
- It’s three Blu-rays’ worth of data per square inch. Or, a total of 3,700 Blu-rays on a single tape. That’s a stack of boxes that would be nearly 15 feet high.
- A single tape holds five more TB than this hard drive storage array, which has to be custom-made and runs for $9,305.
- A total of 64,750,000 songs. If the average song is, say, three minutes, that’s enough music to last you 8,093,750 days.
- The entirety of the Library of Congress represents about 10 total TB. One tape can hold 18.5 versions of the Library of Congress.
Excessive? Perhaps. Unnecessary? We think so, but we’re contrarians. Impressive? Hell. Yes.
Sony’s clown car of a cassette was developed with a method called sputter deposition that allowed the engineers to create layers and layers of tiny (7.7 nanometers) magnetic crystals. ITWorld goes deep into the nitty gritty of how this was accomplished, but we’re more concerned with the end result – a gargantuan, virtually unfillable, amount of storage space for all the mp3s we’ve pirated in the last 10 years.
The cassette, which has long since gone the way of the BetaMax since CDs became the de facto data storage medium in the early 2000s, hasn’t seen the nostalgia revival that vinyl records have enjoyed in the past few years, so perhaps this is the beginning of an outright reclamation for the tape-driven music format. It may take a while for this reclamation to reach the music-consuming masses, as Gizmodo notes that der Ubertape is being developed for “long-term, industrial-sized data backup” and not, say, cramming Ryan Adams’ entire discography (live albums included, bro) onto a single thread of plastic film, but that shouldn’t keep you from digging out your Walkman and running one of those cleaner tapes through, just in case.