• The Audio Tape People


If you keep up to date with the world of audio cassette tapes it won't have escaped your notice that a number of media outlets have picked up on the industry reports of continued growth of cassette releases. There is of course truth that versus the downturn in cassette sales some years ago, there has indeed been a notable increase in releases in more recent years, driven not only by larger commercial label artists, but also by independent artists and labels. But there is also truth that the cassette has never really gone away. Music continued to be released on cassette long after the format was consigned to death by the media. So what's changed? Well we have assume that's a question with a number of answers. But there is no doubt that one of the answers is the need, by artists and labels, to get music heard amongst a very crowded space. Music is now more accessible than its ever been, but with that accessibility comes a price. The price is how to get your music heard?, how do you get it to stand out ? Well a cassette has always been a great vehicle to do both those things.

Its unfortunate then that the recent aforementioned media reports about cassette carry much the same content...normally an article say, will start with 'NOSTALGIA' or 'RESURGENCE' and briefly talk about the positive news regarding cassette and then end with someone interviewed that invariably rubbishes the format and dismisses the perceived 'revival'. Some better articles carry a lot more content weight and thus mention the likes of Bandcamp rather than purely focusing on the commercial chart numbers that get periodically released. These articles at least attempt to build a truer picture of what is actually happening. Said reports though do raise some valid points, mostly around the consumption of the actual music on the cassettes people are buying. At the peak of the cassettes popularity the consumer had access to the likes of the Sony Walkman on-the-go and at home most radios and HIFI's had a tape deck. And although there is new cassette equipment widely available now, it doesn't have the weight of retailer backing and manufacturer marketing support that the format could once justify. We only get to hear from and speak to a very small sub-section of people that release music on cassettes and consumers that buy music on cassettes. But the feedback always seems to be that people do have equipment and do listen to their cassettes. Yes there are a lot of people that keep their cassettes as a collectable, but those people aren't the complete representation.

As for the format itself...well if you know us you'll know that despite our business interest in the format, we genuinely rate its sound quality. You can't compare cassette to CD, Vinyl or a digital file, because obviously they all sound different. The sound will always be in the ear of the beholder. So for us, sound isn't the conversation. The conversation should focus on the music and what the cassette can do for the music. So in our opinion, rather than living on a wave of nostalgia, the cassette is living on a constant wave of popularity. Some formats just carve out their place in the music world and the cassette has its place well and truly carved out - and always has. And in the end, any press noise is always good noise for our friend the cassette :)

Catch up soon :)

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