Lou Ottens, the inventor of the audio cassette tape, passes away at 94
He also helped Philips and Sony develop the compact disc (CD).
Dimapur, March 11 (EMN): Lou Ottens, whose invention — the audio cassette — revolutionised the way we listen to music, passed away on Saturday, March 6 in Duizel, Netherlands according to a report by Dutch news outlet NRC Handelsblad. He was 94.
Ottens was a brilliant engineer who started working at the Philips factory in Hasselt, Belgium in 1952. After becoming the head of Philips’ product department in 1960, he gave the world its first compact audio cassette.
Ottens wanted to create a substitute for large reel-to-reel tapes that were clunky and quite expensive at the time. He wanted to create something that was portable and accessible to all. Thus, in 1963, Ottens and his team presented the first compact audio cassette at the Berlin Radio electronics fair and the rest, as they say, is history.
Documentary filmmaker Zack Taylor who worked with Ottens for his film Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape said, “Lou wanted music to be portable and accessible, he advocated for Philips to license this new format to other manufacturers for free, paving the way for cassettes to become a worldwide standard.”
The importance of Ottens‘ revolutionary audio cassette invention cannot be understated. Without it, there would be no mixtapes, no playlists and the whole music on-the-go culture — remember the Sony Walkman — could have been radically different.
Ottens‘ innovation did not stop with the audio cassette either. He went on to help Philips and Sony develop the world’s first compact disc (CD).