One of the big things we learned from The Making Vinyl Conference this year is how much record manufacturers are looking for less wasteful forms of packaging their product, less environmentally harmful. In this article on The History of the Longbox, Tedium states; “Paper manufacturers and plastic producers each wanted their materials to be used for cassette casing, because that meant business for the respective industries. (Plastic largely won this round.)” The industry; vinyl, tape and CD have been stuck using too much packaging almost exclusively since the 70’s. But recently, especially in CD packaging, paper is winning the race again. I’ve bought about 10 newly released CDs this year and not a one of them has been in a jewel case. Especially for smaller labels, using plastics doesn’t seem to make much fiscal sense anymore but CDs might be on their way out no matter what!
Today in Tedium: Thirty years ago, the record industry decided it didn’t want to be the record industry anymore. It wanted to be the CD industry, with maybe some cassettes on the side. It was getting rid of all that vinyl! This situation, oddly enough, may just repeat in 2018-except, this time, not by choice.
Today’s GIF comes from a 1992 MTV News report about longboxes, shot at Tower Records’ iconic Sunset Strip location.
The year that the National Association of Recording Merchandisersfirst proposed a 4-inch-by-12-inch standard case for cassette tapes, according to Cash Box. (A standard compact cassette is 4 inches by 2.5 inches.) The report notes that the standard was controversial, but that the alternative to putting records in these massively oversized cases was putting them behind glass, which discouraged the kind of exploration that record stores are known for.
A cassette tape longbox, as shown in a 1972 patent.
The longbox predates the compact disc by more than a decade, as it turns out
From a distance, it seems like putting a CD or a cassette inside a massive box, of which more than half of it was effectively useless, would be a really questionable choice.
But the record industry had a couple of good reasons for doing so.
NEW** WHITE Gatefold Paperboard Jacket. Two Pocket. 2 panels: 5 x 5-1/16″; spine 1/4″; Overall length: 10-3/8″. Holds CD in one pocket; booklet in the other. Made from 18 point paperboard. Printable.