Cassette sales rise to highest level since 2004

The return of rockers AC/DC has sent audio cassette sales soaring to their highest level since 2004.

The revival of the format, once considered obsolete, has continued with 100,000 tapes now bought by UK music fans this year.

Led by Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, cassette sales are up 109 per cent on last year. Music body BPI said 97,140 tapes had been sold in 2020 up to this week, compared to 80,404 across the whole of last year… More here.

Always hated cassettes. Impractical, poor audio quality and they always broke. Otherwise they were great!



Categories: Music

9 replies

  1. I still have three of my albums on cassette for sale, but they’re 20 years old, so I’m sure the tape will be brittle soon. I say this although I have cassettes that are almost 50 years old that still function.

  2. 😀 they were definitely cool for their time. a walkman was more durable than the disc versions that followed, and if you liked the idea of physical media (of course one of the benefits of other media formats is a longevity that tapes lacked).

    Still – I think the invention of the “mix tape” really cements their place in history – super empowering for people to assemble their own playlists!

    • Good point. I didn’t think about car usage. Shame there has never really been a fun format for digital music besides playlists, which for some reason don’t feel like mixtapes.

      • Oh I wasn’t even thinking car, but absolutely – for walkman it was the first chance to create your own private soundscape you could walk around in! And for cars it was just freeing as well… there were 8-tracks so it wasn’t quite the first to break from the tyranny of radio, but again, make your own tape was great.
        Not sure what you mean by “fun format” – like something more physical than a “playlist”?

        I guess I cut a few custom CDs – in the 90s, when a blank disc was like around $20 and would become an expensive coaster if your computer couldn’t keep up with the burning process, that was a pretty swingin’ thing to do 😀

        • I guess it is not so much fun because it is too easy and you do not have to take the time to put it together. Anyone can share a playlist, to do so with a cassette took time which was more meaningful to the recipient.

          • Yeah, absolutely. The book (maybe the movie?) “High Fidelity” goes into the art of the assemblage. And although it was free from the “tyranny” of albums, it was well before “shuffle” – playlists are always one click away from that random order, but with a tape, the order was important, and could be a subtle (or not so) medium of communication.

            And of course the art of trying to get the tape to be full up, without too much “white space” at the end, or a song getting cut off, or junk songs just thrown in. (Heh… that “enforced silence”… was the unique to tapes? I can’t think of other formats where the entire playtime was pre-ordained like that)

            I guess the effect has largely faded for me now, but for a long time when I heard a song I knew best from a beloved mixtape I would start to Pavlov-expect whatever came next on that mix.

  3. If you ever used large tape reels, as in reel to reel, you appreciate things like cassettes. It’s like going from an 8 inch floppy to a 3 1/2 inch diskette.

  4. There’s a hipster-ish pizzareia around here that has a wall full of ’em, I think they’d pull a tape and play it for you if you were dining in and asked.

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