Four major consumer audio formats dominated the 1970s: 45-rpm and 33 1/3-rpm vinyl records, Philips compact cassette tapes, and the oft-caricatured 8-track tape. LPs remained the audiophile's medium of choice, and 8-track tapes became popular on the road. The one-spool construction of 8-track tapes allowed for tape-deck designs that reduced cost and size, allowing them to fit easily in automobile dashboards and in portable players. The 8-track did see limited home use: The combination 8-track player/turntable/AM-FM stereo receiver shown here sold for $125 in 1974 (about $574 in today's dollars). At the end of the decade, the compact cassette format exceeded the 8-track tape in fidelity, convenience, and tape-deck quality, sounding the death knell of the 8-track tape.
Credit: JCPenney, Capitol Stereo Tape Club