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Author Event | Rob Drew: Unspooled: How the Cassette Made Music Shareable

When

Friday May 24, 2024: 6:30pm to 7:30pm  Add to Calendar /   Add to Google Calendar

Where

Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Description

Rob Drew comes to AADL to discuss his new book Unspooled: How the Cassette Made Music Shareable.

In Unspooled, Drew traces how a lowly, hissy format that began life in office dictation machines and cheap portable players came to be regarded as a token of intimate expression through music and a source of cultural capital. Drawing on sources ranging from obscure music zines to transcripts of Congressional hearings, Drew examines a moment in the early 1980s when music industry representatives argued that the cassette encouraged piracy. At the same time, 1980s indie rock culture used the cassette as a symbol to define itself as an outsider community. Indie’s love affair with the cassette culminated in the mixtape, which advanced indie’s image as a gift economy. By telling the cassette’s long and winding history, Drew demonstrates that sharing cassettes became an acceptable and meaningful mode of communication that initiated rituals of independent music recording, re-recording, and gifting.

This event includes a signing with books for sale.