Disruptive? Napster was certainly that. For a whole two years, it turned the record industry upside down. And made lost songs listenable again.

8-track cartridges

Just another obsolete audio format? Or was the 8-track stereo cartridge part of the conspiracy to make us keep buying our music in different media over and over again?


Jukeboxes were essentially an automated music-playing device. What you would do (usually) is put a coin into the machine, then press some buttons with numbers and letters on them. You told the machine which song you wanted to hear, and it played it.

B sides

An explanation for the Spotify generation: Our old 45-rpm singles were vinyl records that confusingly did not contain a single song. They contained one song on each side (sometimes two).

The mixtape

On a mixtape, you had to get the tracks in the right order, depending on what effect you were attempting to induce in the recipient. Was this a declaration of love, or simply a demonstration of your irreducible coolness when it came to good music?

Cassette tapes

They were portable. You could listen to music in your bedroom, take the tape into the car, drive to your friend’s house, listen to the music there. All very convenient for those of us who couldn’t afford to employ a small orchestra to accompany us as we went about our daily lives.