8 Track Tape Value – Are 8 Track Tapes Worth Anything?
Technology has advanced rapidly in the past few years. We went from listening to CDs and cassette tapes to streaming music in a relative blink of an eye. But what becomes of those old 8 track tapes sitting in your basement or attic? Are 8 track tapes worth anything at all, and if so, what is their true value? Well, let’s find out right now.
Are 8-Track Tapes Worth Anything at All?
The average price of an 8-track tape ranges from $2 to $20, depending on where you purchase it and what condition the used tape is in. However, for a sealed 8 track tape, or a tape that has been opened but is in virtually pristine condition, it can be worth anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars (and in very rare circumstances, even thousands of dollars).
The most expensive 8-tracks will be the ones that were released as a limited run, and therefore don’t have many copies floating around in circulation on the used market.
Where Can I Buy 8-Track Tapes?
A great website to consider is Kates Track Shack, as they have been in business for 25 years and really love all things 8-track. I also love how they are very transparent about the condition of the tapes, if they have been tuned up, and they even do repairs or will sell you the supplies for you to do it. You can also purchase 8 track tapes on auction sites like eBay or Heritage Auctions.
Where Can I Sell 8-Track Tapes?
If you want to sell your old collection of 8-track tapes, you can quickly sell them on eBay or Facebook. There are some really good websites like Discogs.com, undergroundalbums.com, angelfire.com, and the8tracktapestore.com.
What Impacts The Value of 8-Track Tapes?
The condition of the 8-track tape will drastically impact how much money it is worth. If you’re selling an 8 track tape, you first mission is to listen to the tape and try to ascertain how good (or bad) the sound quality is, and if it plays all the way through without any problems.
If the tape needs to be tuned up or needs new pads/splices, this can also impact the value of the tape. Of course, the rarity of the tape will also be used to determine how much the tape is worth.
8 Track Tapes vs Cassettes
Now you may wonder what’s the difference between an 8 track tape vs cassette. Well, while they do share similarities (both are magnetic analog music devices), there are also some notable differences. For example, one reason cassette tapes displaced 8 track tapes is due to their portability.
8 track tapes were mostly used inside vehicles, where a cassette tape could go from being played in your car to being played inside a walkman as you jogged or walked down the street. Another reason cassette tapes won the format war was due to their music fidelity.
8 Track Tapes vs Vinyl
A major benefit to vinyl over 8 track tapes is the sound quality. A record from the 1970s can sound just as good today as it did when it was originally released. That’s not typically true for an 8 track tape, mostly due to the format relying on magnetic tape, which can (like a cassette or even a VHS tape) degrade over time.
Where Can I Donate Or Recycle 8-Track Tapes?
If you are in a situation where you find yourself with some 8-track tapes that you do not want to spend time trying to sell, you may also consider donating or recycling the tapes. Many recycling locations will not take 8-track tapes, so you can donate them to places like the library, a buy-and-sell shop, or even an antique store.
History of 8 Track Tapes
The 8-track tape is a magnetic tape-recording technology that was extremely popular from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s. It’s important to note that the 8-track gained commercial success due to the booming automobile industry. In 1965, Ford introduced 8-track tapes as an option on three of its 1966 models and by 1967, all of Ford’s cars offered the 8-track.
Due to how portable the 8-track was, it became extremely popular, and eventually, in 1966, 8 track tape players were introduced to the public. 1978 was the peak year for 8-track tape sales in America and this continued until 1982 when they were phased out and replaced by newer and smaller cassette tapes.
A popular feature of the 8-track tape is that it not only had eight tracks but could play music continuously on an endless loop without the listener having to flip the tape. This was great because it meant you didn’t need to flip the tape over to hear the full tape, after 80 minutes of playing time, it would just start over at the beginning. Though the 8-track tape is now considered obsolete, there are numerous collectors who relish the 8-track and some of them are even valuable.
An 8-Track Revival Like Vinyl or Cassettes or CDs?
It is extremely unlikely that 8-track tapes would make a revival like the current surge in popularity that vinyl, cassettes, and CDs have had. One reason for this is that there is no longer any manufacturing infrastructure to make anything. The duplicating machinery and the injection molds for the plastic shells are now gone and would be too expensive to remake.
Generally speaking, if you are planning on collecting and selling 8 track tapes for money, you need to focus on rare 8-track tapes. Focusing on limited or highly rare 8-tracks will give you a better chance of earning a good return on your investment—especially if the 8-track tape has a unique feature about it.
The website Pop Sike has a list of the 50 most valuable vinyl records from last month and they can tell you additional information you need, like what auction website was used to sell an 8 track tape and where the seller was located.
For example, a really valuable 8-track is the Sinatra Jobim 8-track, which sold for $4,550 in June of 2006 on Pop Sike. This particular 8-track is so valuable because it was never released on vinyl and there are only a few of them that are still in circulation. Due to a disagreement, the record label canceled sales of the album and tried to pull them from the store, leading to this album never being made on vinyl and only a few 8-tracks being released.
The Oberon A Midsummer’s Night Dream 8-track is another tape that sold for $1,025 in March of 2015. This 8-track is a rare find because it hardly ever appears on the secondary market.
Now, with that said, it should be noted that music artist St. Vincent released her 2021 album entitled “Daddy’s Home” on 8-track tape. On her site, it sold for $35 with a limited edition of just 500 copies made. And while it did sell out, I don’t think that’s a healthy way to assess any potential 8-track tape comeback or revival.
Until 8-track tape players start becoming mass produced in relatively high numbers, an 8-track tape resurgence will not occur because newcomers to the hobby cannot be expected to track down vintage 8 track tape players on eBay. So when Crosley or Victrola decide to start making 8-track players, that will most likely trigger the 8-track resurgence in my eyes.
Why Is Vinyl More Expensive Than 8-Track?
One reason vinyl is more expensive is that they are currently being manufactured, which costs money (and the cost is passed onto the consumer). Vinyl also sounds better, and has an undisputed “cool” factor among young people, which all contributes to vinyl’s on-going success.
Sound Difference Between Vinyl and 8-Track?
In the retro music community, there are many people who prefer 8-track over vinyl and vice versa. The 8-track is a direct tape-to-tape transfer from the master reel, and many people love how it gives the overall tone and soundstage to the music.
Other people may like how vinyl sounds more lively and has a wider stereo image. The nostalgia is also heavier with vinyl, as there is just something special about going to the record store and looking through all of their vinyl records . Even though vinyl and 8-track both brought advances to music listening, vinyl is pricier to buy.
Whether you are in the market to buy or sell 8 track tapes, the value of 8-track tapes depends on a number of different factors. The condition of the tape, how rare the tape is, and the current demand for that tape all factor into how much it’s worth. Even though 8-tracks are past their time, determining if 8-track tapes are worth anything is definitely worthwhile because you just never know if you’re sitting on a goldmine.
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This article was written by Jesse and edited by Michael.