I was looking through some old copies of National Lampoon, and it struck me how so many ads there were for stereo equipment inside its covers. There was probably an ad for stereo equipment on every other page, with many full-page or two-page spreads. A few more examples:
It got me wondering ... what happened to the traditional stereo? You know; a big heavy receiver, a tape deck and turntable that would have eventually been supplemented and later replaced by a CD player, and huge speakers?
During the 1970s and early 1980s, there was a stereo store in just about every neighborhood of my hometown. That's not including Radio Shack, which also sold a wide variety stereo equipment in all of their stores. Airchecks of local FM radio stations from the era are loaded with ads for stereo stores. I remember that many stereo stores in my hometown also sold posters and "smoking accessories".
I find it hard to believe the iPod or Best Buy was responsible for the demise of the traditional stereo. Ads for stereo equipment were still unusually common by today's standards in NatLamps of the 1980s, but they were fewer in number as the decade went on; the decline long before MP3 players or the proliferation of big box electronic stores. Maybe one could blame the Walkman, but was the sound quality the same as a traditional stereo with headphones? Another hypothetical for the decline of the stereo is the ghetto blaster. However, most blasters of the time sounded like shit, even those from top-tier brands.
National Lampoon also had no shortage of ads for car stereo equipment. I can understand why such ads would have declined through the years; decent stereos became standard equipment in most cars, and non-DIN standard sized openings made aftermarket stereos harder to install. Aftermarket car stereo equipment seems to be a niche market now, unlike the 1970s and 1980s.
So, Cyburbians, where have all the stereos gone? Do you still have an stereo in your house, whether it's part of a home theater system or not?