Your next mixtape could hold more songs than tens of thousands of iPods combined

BY Justin Scuiletti  May 5, 2014 at 1:09 PM EST

Photo by Flickr user Andrew Malone

Photo by Flickr user Andrew Malone

Forget a playlist or a hard drive — a new spin on an old technology could let you fit as much music, or any other type of data, as you could ever want on a cassette tape.

Sony debuted a new tape format Sunday at the International Magnetics Conference in Dresden, Germany that can hold 148 gigabytes of data per square inch; shattering a previous magnetic tape record of 29.5 gigabytes. If packed into a cartridge, a single cassette tape would be capable of holding 185 terabytes of storage — equal to the capacity of 3,700 Blu-ray discs. That’s more than 46 million songs if you wanted to store MP3s.

While the world’s longest mixtape does sound appealing, this cassette tape would not be an ideal MP3 player replacement nor would it play on an old boom box, however. This tape is meant for storage, the same type of magnetic tape used for large-capacity storage back when hard drive capacities were measured in megabytes. Read and write times on magnetic tapes are also quite long compared to other types of data storage, so the format is most suitable for backups as opposed to storing one’s media library.

Even so, pretty good news for a format that celebrated its 50th birthday in September.