This week, a cassette that claims purity:
BASF 90 Performance Series

BASF 90 Performance Series - Side 1 in full view

A cassette or a tape?

Never mind, let’s call it a ‘cassette tape’.

BASF 90 Performance Series, box in vull view

BASF 90 Performance Series, box side view

BASF 90 Performance Series, box rear view

Claim to fame

That last picture has an important element. Let’s zoom in on that.


So, is it true? Well, not entirely.

Magnetic tape was invented for recording sound by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928 in Germany, using a long strip of paper with a ferric oxide powder coating. This invention was further developed by the German electronics company AEG, which manufactured the recording machines and BASF, which manufactured the tape.

The first tape recorder by AEG was reel-to-reel in 1935. Due to the escalating political tensions, and the outbreak of World War II, these developments were largely kept secret. It was only after the war that Americans were able to bring this technology out of Germany and develop it into commercially viable formats.

When the Dutch company Philips released the compact cassette format in 1962, the tape they used for the first compact cassette was supplied by BASF. So some credit, where credit’s due.


Der amerikanische Freund

But this cassette is not German, it’s American, y’all.


Well, at least side 1 is. Side 2 is not so sure about its roots.


What’s on it

The tape has been used for recording Rita Reys, a well known and respected jazz singer from The Netherlands.


Check her out here, live in 1960.

Aren’t you forgetting something?

The purity claim you mean? Not to worry, I’ll explain.
In Billboard Magazine, I came across this (dated May 7, 1977).