Published Jan 04, 2011Though it went the way of the Dodo over 30 years ago, there are still audiophiles out there that stand by the eight-track. The outdated format, brought to you back in the 1960s as the first portable music product, may not be as popular as other retro-minded items like vinyl or even cassettes, but a new museum in Dallas, TX hopes to give eight-tracks the respect they deserve.
The Pegasus News [via Prefix] reports that the Eight Track Museum, which opened its doors on Christmas Day, is home to 3,000 eight-, four- and two-track tapes in a 700-square-foot space. Amazingly, the museum's debut brought out more than 100 music fans interested in tracing the history of the discontinued curios.
Owner James "Bucks" Burnett, whom previously helmed the Mr. Ed Fan Club newsletter and is the ex-manager of effete ukulele legend Tiny Tim, initially hosted his collection of rare eight-tracks at the Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas earlier this year to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the format. The popularity of the exhibition, titled Eight Track Tapes: The Bucks Burnett Collection, gave Burnett the motivation to secure a long-term spot in the Deep Ellum Foundation building.
Though touted as being of a higher fidelity than the standard analog cassettes, eight-tracks were discontinued in the late '70s. Better sound quality be damned, the format didn't exist after the Led Zeppelin era.
Burnett clearly takes his obsession seriously. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, he had this to say about his beloved format: "There are only two choices. A world with an eight-track museum and a world without an eight-track museum... I choose with."
Will the eight-track go on to be the next fetish format, like its older brother vinyl? Well, with record sales heading into a downward spiral, let's just say you might need to go to Dallas to hear the, uh, "latest tapes."