Here we are proper landed in 2019...we hope you've managed to have a nice Christmas and New Year break. A week and a bit into this new year and we're already rocking and rolling with a number of new cassette tape releases. Depending on what you read, physical music still had a place in 2018. The cassette for example reported its biggest growth in the UK since 2004 according to data analysed by the BPI. Its Vinyl counter-part had a 2000% rise in consumption since its last reported low point in 2007. CD, for which we also have a vested interest as a company, didn't fair well, but you have to consider that it had some tough releases to go up against from 2017. And much the same was seen in the US as well. These numbers all relate to those releases that enter the market commercially via the big major record labels, but also consider the amount of releases worldwide sold via online sites like Bandcamp and through independent record stores around the world. Cassette Store Day continues to play a part in the consumer consumption of cassette and despite going up against the 70th birthday of Vinyl in 2018, had yet another successful year, both here in the UK and around the World.
It won't of passed by some of you that HMV finds itself in another period of uncertainty and we hope you'll join us in hoping that a suitable resolution is found to not only keep HMV alive, but also to ensure that the futures of the many people that work in their stores around the country are secure. Its not for us to speculate or pass comment on the rights, wrongs or hypothesise on what the right direction should be. But we believe that there is a shared view with a lot of people that there is still a place on the UK high-street for a national music retailer, much as there is for books with Waterstones. The digitisation of music can't not be a factor, and the biggest growth in that area is by far streaming of music via services like Spotify. But consider that as hard as technology tried to unseat the physical book, it still hasn't managed. And the reality is, it won't. In 2018 one in every ten physical music albums was purchased on vinyl here in the UK. And although CD sales continue to fall, there was still sales that were for the most part consistent and in-line with where they were expected to be. And over 50,000 cassettes were sold as well. That doesn't mean that digitisation will one day be put back in its place, the same way that E-books and E-readers won't for books, but those stats show that digital can co-exist with the physical. I'm sure we'll know more about the fate of HMV in the coming weeks.
We were incredibly proud to be part of a lot of the cassette releases seen not just here in the UK, but around the world in 2018. The format has now been a friend of The Audio Tape People here at Media Duplication Ltd for over 10 years. At no time have we ever lost faith in the format, and much the same is said of the people that entrust their music to the format each and every year. We love the good news stats that show the cassette has had a good year as a format. What we don't necessarily subscribe to is the idea that somehow its a either a fad or a resurgence. The opening quote on this website is 'The media tell us that the audio tape is back...for us, its never been away' - and we believe that, because it hasn't and it hasn't got a reason to go away. The format is tangible, it sounds great. looks great and continues to be one of the formats of choice for artists, bands and labels to get their sounds into the ears of music lovers (and discoverers).
Whatever 2019 holds for you, we wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to reporting plenty of cassette related news in the coming weeks and months.
The Audio Tape People