We study how tape drive producers respond to the almost continuous emergence of new drive formats across the technology’s history. The analysis characterizes the technological formats of tape drives according to their degree of contrast (distinctiveness and visibility) from other formats. We also develop and test arguments about how different types of tape drive manufacturers add and drop the production of formats as a function of the producer density of formats. In the empirical analysis, we find that firms producing formats with high contrast experience a lower rate of mortality. In terms of new format adoption, we find that firms characterized by high levels of contrast are more likely to add formats. Regarding the target of adoption, tape drive producers are more likely to add higher density formats; and these producers are also less likely to drop higher density formats.