Lou Ottens – Audio Cassette Tape Inventor Passes Away Aged 94

Lou Ottens, a Dutch engineer known for inventing audiotape, has died at the age of 94.

An estimated 100 billion cassettes have been sold worldwide since its inception in the 1960’s.

Transformation In Music

Ottens’ invention transformed the way people listened to music, and there has even been a resurgence of the cassette in recent years.

The engineer died in his hometown of Duizel last weekend, his family announced on Tuesday.


Ottens became head of Philips’ product development department in 1960, where he and his team made a cassette tape.

In 1963, it was introduced to a Berlin-based electronic show and soon became a worldwide success.

You made me a happy kid!" Cassette Tape Inventor Dies At 94yo, 80s & 90s  Kids Pay Tribute - WORLD OF BUZZ

Ottens then entered into an agreement with Philips and Sony who see his model being certified as a patented cassette, after a number of Japanese companies reproduced similar tapes in a number of sizes.

On the 50th anniversary of its creation, he told Time magazine that it was a “sensation” from day one.

Other Inventions

Ottens have also been involved in the development of compact disk, and more than 200 billion of those have been sold worldwide to date.

In 1982, when Philips showed the CD player, Ottens said: “From now on, the standard player is no more”.

Customers look at music cassettes displayed at a Fnac store, on August 28, 1987

He retired four years later. When asked about his work, he said his deepest regret was that it was Sony and not Philips who created the cassette tape player, Walkman.

The cassette tapes have experienced an unexpected increase in popularity in recent years. Many artists including Lady Gaga and The Killers have released their music.

According to the Official Charts Company in the UK, cassette sales in the first half of 2020 have increased by 103% compared to the same period last year.

And in the US, according to Nielsen music, sales of cassette tapes grew by 23% in 2018 compared to last year.

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Shaheer Ansari

Shaheer is passionate about living a life seeking un-ending knowledge, philomath, as you may think of him. He's a student of Finance and a keen observer of Business and Indian-Political scenario who takes pleasure to pen down his views and opinions on the same. As his guiding mantra to life, ‘Come what may , life goes on’ helps.

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