Published May 05, 2014A couple decades ago, it was impressive to see a Memorex tape that could hold a couple hours of music. But as CDs became more prevalent and iPods made music storage seem limitless, the cassette medium became more of a nostalgic item than a practical one. The current cassette renaissance is moving from boutique label nostalgia into the 21st century, however, with news that Sony has developed technology for cassette tape to hold 185 terrabytes of data.
Over the weekend, Sony revealed their new format at the International Magnetics Conference in Dresden, Germany, explaining that the tape variation can store up to 148 gigabytes of information per square inch. This is reportedly upwards of 74 times more powerful than traditional retail cassette tapes.
Gizmodo reports that this can be done via the use of "a vacuum-forming technique called sputter deposition," which densely packs together magnetic crystals onto polymer film substrate.
The press conference had Sony reps explaining that the tape is intended for "long-term, industrial-sized data backup." Comparing it to old school analogue cassette tapes, reports suggest that considering the memory size and averaging a song out to three minutes, the cassette could hold upwards of 64,750,000 songs, or 8,093,750 days worth of music.
Update: this story has been modified to reflect that the new technology will not, as a reader pointed out, be the same kind of cassette you can play in your tape deck.