Toronto Mike

How We Consumed Music

For the purposes of this article, I'm going back to 1987. That's the year I became a teenager. I had to pick a year, and that makes as much sense to me as any year.

In 1987, I was already in love with music. Here's how I consumed it.


In 1987, I listened to a lot of radio, primarily top 40 radio. My favourite station was 680 CFTR and I'd try not to miss The Top 6 at Six. The radio, which travelled with me on my Sony Walkman, was vital in '87.

MuchMusic/Video Hits/Toronto Rocks

When MuchMusic entered the home, it was like a visual radio station introducing me to more artists and songs. There was quite a bit of overlap, but there were absolutely some artists I'd primarily hear on the radio and others I'd only discover on Much. Watching for three or four hours a day was common. Pre-Much, Video Hits and Toronto Rocks scratched the itch.

My Cassette Collection

When I liked a song and/or artist enough, usually discovered on the radio or video show, I'd buy the cassette. With my dual-cassette deck, I could easily curate mixtapes for my Walkman so I had my favourite  songs with me at all times. A 120 minute tape could fit a lot of songs!

The Introduction

Once in a while, a friend would introduce me to an artist that wasn't on my radar. I remember discovering the Sex Pistols this way, and Poison, and even Alice Cooper. Someone would lend you a cassette tape, or play something for you with clear instructions to dive in.

That was it. A mere year or two later, I'd get my first CD player and would start collecting compact discs, but this basic framework remained in tact until the internet. Now that was a game changer.

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About Toronto Mike
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