Your second point isn't 100% right, modern tape drives have two features that more or less eliminate "shoe-shining". The first is that the tape drive can usually run at multiple speeds, sometimes as low as 1/3 of it's headline speed so if you can't keep up it adjusts. But the most important feature is a huge buffer, several seconds of write time between the OS and the tape surface. With both of these in place the "shoe-shining" is minimal. (eg: a quarter second backtrack every 5 seconds; as compared to the old QIC drives where you could easily end up with the equivalent of twenty passes.)
PS: If you happen to have an old tape drive that doesn't have a huge buffer it can easily be done in software.