Bias aside, because ultimately we're in the business of cassette duplication, the statistics are continuing to speak for themselves. In the last few days we picked up an article published by UPROXX (https://uproxx.com/) which centered on the cassette tape and its continued rise in popularity among independent artists and record labels.
Well that article is right-on-the-money...
Bandcamp (www.bandcamp.com) reported a year-end 2017 global increase in cassette sales through their site of 41%. Other physical formats also saw growth...54% for vinyl and 18% for CD. Bandcamp saw a 73% increase in revenue from 3500 independent record labels through their site. That tells you that there are artists and labels writing their own destiny...and the sales tell you that people are finding that music - and buying it. This is the Bandcamp story, but less we forget that there is other online outlets doing an equally as good job. There is also plenty of green-shoots of life for physical formats within 'bricks & mortar' music retail. In the UK alone there are a vast array of decent, proper and well informed record stores. Independent record stores doubtless have an edge over the high street chains. Unrestrained by the shackles of a predefined range, they can give music discoverers something genuinely new and exciting.
So take a step back and take stock of that number...a 41% increase in physical cassette tape sales...we know that at the end of November 2017 Bandcamp had seen 17,872 cassette releases. At the time of writing this post Bandcamp music fans had paid artists 7.2 million dollars for their music in the space of only 30 days. It shows that music needs more than just an MP3 or MPEG file to engage with the music searching public. We said in a previous post that physical formats will do well to unseat digital, but its starting to feel that the digital and the physical are shaping up to co-exist more than ever before. Why is that good news for the cassette, well apart from the obvious, it also means that its being taken seriously. And rightly so...as the UPROXX article points out...cassette represents good value for labels and artists when considering the format line-up for a new release.
Take the album pictured above from the Burning Witches Records label...within the space of a week from its original release on cassette its now about to do a further production run. And cassette totally allowed them the ability to do that. Not only did the sales of the first run prove how popular the release was, it also proved that being on cassette presented no barriers. Playback equipment is widely available either new or secondhand, and plenty of music lovers have never given up their equipment anyway. Most cassette release production specifications can be delivered relatively quickly and plenty of options exist to make the finished product look individual and desirable. Having the ability as a label or artist to make smaller investments when needed is a real unique selling point of the cassette - among so many!
In an ever complicated and changing world its worth speculating that maybe music is what people are using to escape. Both in the time taken, casually or with dedication, to find the music, to buy it and then to consume it. If that's the case, or its just that music is now more accessible than its ever been, the cassette is very much in the mix. Whether you're talking to us or anyone else in the tape duplication world, know that you're in good hands with the cassette.
Have a great March everyone, catch up soon :)
You can keep in touch with us on social media in the meantime...
And make sure you check out the latest cassette releases on Bandcamp and the UPROXX article;