From 1964 to 10 1988 8 track tapes were a thing, that is if you lived in Japan, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. If you lived in another country then you probably have never heard of these before.
Bill Lear, yes of the Lear Jet Corporation teamed up with Ford, Ampex, General Motors, Motorola and RCA they created a company called Stereo 8. In 1965 Ford introduced factory-installed 8 track tapes and by 1967 they were in all on the Fords as a separate deck. These were also in Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
These were very popular and they had good in the 1970s but it faded as it made way for other media formats. The 8-tracks are a sought after by collectors.
The 8 track provided a different avenue for people to listen to music. Instead of the radio, you know the AM / FM standard music. It provided you the opportunity to listen to your favorite group and or band.
Yes, we had some of these 8 Tracks growing up, we had 8 tracks in the cars my parents drove. Granted we didn’t listen to them often. My mom loved Neil Diamond and yes we had some 8 tracks of Neil and we listen to him quite often.
I am not sure if these are considered a gadget, but it did make it better to find something that you liked, instead of listening to what the radio station wanted you to listen to.