8-track cartridge enjoys an unlikely resurgence

When, towards the end of last year, we included 8-track cartridge in our list of 11 heroic tech failures, it seems we spoke too soon.

Perhaps riding the wave of the none-more-fashionable vinyl revival, 8-track cartridge is back - and in what looks quite a big way.

Industry sources tell us each of the big record labels is planning a major reissue of back-catalogue recordings on the previously moribund format - and there's even talk of a high-resolution variant.

We understand several High Street retailers are keen to stock the format alongside the suddenly numerous vinyl (and even, in some cases, compact cassette) titles they carry.

One source told us "the thing is: there's so much uncertainty around at the moment, people take a lot of comfort from the familiar. Even if they're not old enough to remember it, or if they are they'll have forgotten how shoddy it was in the first place. 8-track is the perfect format to take advantage of this feeling: it's clunky, inconvenient and entirely backward-looking. And when the new breed of 8-track players hits the market, they'll ruin the cartridges after one or two plays. So the user will have replace them. Over and over and over again."

BBC Three is broadcasting a significant 8-track cartridge retrospective later today, with many partially famous celebrities lining up to talk about how they always had a soft spot for the format despite being demonstrably too young to have encountered it before.

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