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Re: [ARSCLIST] Early stereo mass market tapes

Hi Roger:

Yes, I totally forgot Omegatapes and Audiophile. The record labels don't "count" in my interest because of course they all got into the tape game. I'm more interested in these little companies that sprang up to do tapes only. Some did morph into record labels but it seems like most just died out after an initial "hifi bug" craze.

Here's a for instance. Bel Canto did original recordings back in the mid-50's, before they became one of the major duping houses in the 60's. One of their tapes is "That Geller Feller" by Herb Geller. I think it was recorded while Geller was under contract to Mercury/Emarcy but the material was never issued on Mercury to my knowledge. It's a good album, along the lines of Geller's mid-50's Emarcy records, which were all mono. So, what happened to the Bel Canto masters and was this stuff ever reissued? That's the kind of info I'm seeking.

Another thing I'd love to know is what ever became of some of those crazy stereo demo tapes like "Sound in the Round"? I have the quarter-track version, which is vastly inferior to the little snippet of the 2-track version that's on Ampex's original 2-track stereo demo tape they included with their first consumer tape machines.

There were some funny, interesting and creative stereophony tricks and gimmicks going on in this very early tape era that never made it to the stereo LP era two years later. By the time quarter-track became the consumer format, the tape business seemed to be much more just an adjunct to the LP business like 8-tracks and then cassettes would later be. The next time tape was king was the very end of the LP era, right before CD's became the mass format. The two years between LPs and CD's, if memory serves, cassettes outsold LPs because the Walkman was king and the boombox was still a very strong presence.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger and Allison Kulp" <thorenstd124@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early stereo mass market tapes

When you go around picking through junk to sell on
eBay,tou find all sorts of stuff.I have found m number
of tapes over the years,that I have sold.I can supply
sme names of companies,but no specifics about
history.There was Omegatape,who was initially set up
as a tape-only label.They put out a bunch of
titles,that were later issued on Lp.The ones I sold
were by Ataufo Arghenta,later released,by Omega on
Lp,and Art pepper,released by blue Note,on LP,in
1980.These tapes dated from 1957-58.There was also
Audiophile,who put out tapes of traditional/dixieland
jazz,early on.RCA,and Westminster,put out tapes,in
19556-56.These are easily spotted,as they have
different box designs,than the Lp covers.

  I think the early history of this would be
facinating,where would you learn more about it ?
                                Roger Kulp

--- Tom Fine <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hi All:

I'm trying to find out some history of the early
stereo hifi era, specifically the handful of
companies that sprang up to make and market stereo
tapes. This would be circa 1955-56, when the
first commercial mass-duped 2-tracks were out. What
was the business model for a company like
Livingston or Bel Canto? Were they basically run
like boutique record labels or differently? Aside
from those two and Stereotapes, who else was making
original recordings as opposed to licensing and
releasing stuff from major labels or European

Also, we talked about Emory Cook and I believe
there's someone on-list here who actually worked
Cook. Did he jump into stereo tapes or stick with
his two-cartridge grooved disks?

Finally, does anyone have any sales estimates on the
first generation of tapes? I know they were
priced a bit higher than mono LP records and the
playback decks were expensive by mid-50s standards,
so it was a niche market. But, reel to reel tape
obviously caught on enough that by the
quarter-track era (1958 or so onward), there was
enough demand to allow for a lot of catalog variety
and many duping operations around the country. By
the late 60's, I think it was down to Bel Canto,
Ampex Tapes and a handful of smaller dupers but I
might be wrong on that.

OK, thanks in advance for any facts anyone can

-- Tom Fine

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