> Tape isn't dead, but it's not worth it for small quantities
The cheapest LTO-6 drive on NewEgg is $1500, and Sony has the tapes for $18/TB. External hard drives are running about $35/TB. So you need ~90 TB for cost crossover on sheer data volume, not considering usability and reliability.
People who quote that hard drives are cheaper than tape always leave out the cost of electricity and reliability. If I'm going to tape, that is one of the reasons whether it's backup or archiving. I can take that tape out and store it w/o power for years and reliably read it back.
How long can you reliably do that with a hard drive? The mfg don't design drives for that, they design for always powered up drives. If I need that, I probably need to test for it and that can change with models and firmware settings. So you might have those costs for a powered off drive. If it doesn't last as long, you have medium exchange.
HDs are more delicate. I can reliably ship a tape cross country and read it on the other side. USB hard drives, not so much. I can put tapes in a vast array that a robot retrieves from so human hands don't damage them transferring them. I can't do that with HDs.
I put ~ 20 GB on 4mm DATs in the 90s (1.3 GB/ea) and read them back 10 years later. Drive was ~ $1k, tapes $10 so the cost was ~ $1200. Disk was $100/GB (probably more, 4GB drives came out ~ 97) so I would've need $2000 of them. If I needed to keep them spun up how much was 10 years of electricity + the SCSI interfaces ($200 * 2?) to keep them running + the enclosure to put them in (20+ drives? ).
Costs for the drives *today* would be much lower, but the electricity over 10 years is still there.