Finding fun with floppies

Nick Seebruch
Finding fun with floppies
Sterling Campbell holding some of his floppy discs. Photo credit: Lachlan Davis.

CORNWALL, Ontario – When Sterling Campbell returned to Cornwall, he had an off the wall idea for an at home business that combined his passion for music with his love of nostalgia.

Since January, he has been selling old floppy disks on which he has recorded Vaporwave music.

Vaporwave is a genre of electronic music that is based a lot on popular sounds of the 80s and 90s, but re-cut and re-mixed with an electronic sound.

“To me, Vaporwave is all about nostalgia,” said Campbell. “There is a lot of 80s aesthetic. There is a yearning there for cassettes, Beta Max and Sega consoles, just a lot of things that remind you of a simpler time.”

Campbell has been a fan of Vaporwave for a long time and felt that an old format like the floppy disk was a great way to promote this art form.

“I’m doing floppy disks because it is ridiculous and it’s different,” he said.

Each floppy disk can contain just under 12 minutes of audio.

Campbell named his company Strudelsoft, a name which in itself has an off the wall history.

“A couple of buddies and I thought it would be funning if we bought a lot of strudels from Tims and set up a website of people eating strudels,” said Campbell. “I bought the domain and put up a video on loop. I was stuck with the domain name and was like, okay, I’ll use that.”

Strudelsoft’s first musical release was A Class in . . . Cryptocurrency by 猫 シ Corp.

He made 20 copies of the album, and all 20 floppy disks sold out in eight seconds. Campbell works with the artists and they each get a cut of each floppy he sells of their work.

Campbell says that he sources the floppy disks through colleagues at work and online.

“Some people wanted like $5 and others were like, just get it out of my house,” he said. “You find the weirdest things on old floppy disks.”

Campbell said that he’s found old video games on the disks, episodes of Gilligan’s Island and I Dream of Jeannie on disks and even some viruses.

This is not Campbell’s first business based on a retro format. While he lived in Ottawa, Campbell started a business selling old cassette tapes, called Lost Angles and old VHS tapes called Baudway Vid, both of which are still in business.

Campbell states that he has had about six floppy disk releases so far and all have sold out. He says he really enjoys seeing people enjoying this retro music, on a retro format, in the modern era. Floppy disks can only be read by computer A:/ drives and few computers today come built with A:/ drives, but some A:/ drives come with USB ports that allow them to be connected to modern computers.

“Someone sent me a vid of them hooking up their A:/ drive to their car,” said Campbell. “They were playing the floppy in their 2017 car and that was crazy to me.”

Campbell joked that for his next business idea, he might write songs to an SD drive and sew that SD drive into a Beanie Baby.

“I’m doing this for fun and not to turn a profit,” said Campbell. “To me it is strange I am getting so much attention.”

Those interested in purchasing Campbell’s next release can do so at

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