Over the last few years the sales of cassette tapes have seen a massive resurgence with sales in 2018 increasing by 125%.
But before we all go up in the attics to search out our long-abandoned cassette players it might be a good idea to take a look why sales have increased so much. Let’s face it since music went digital, we have been able to access and listen to our favourite tunes whenever and wherever we like, a far cry from having to carry a pencil about with you.
A pencil, for the uninitiated of all thing’s cassette related, was the essential piece of kit to fix a tape that had unwound itself. As long as the tape didn’t get stuck in the player getting ‘chewed up’ then it was possible to rewind the tape using the pencil which was just about the right size and texture for the cogs to latch onto.
If we were honest, tapes really were not that great a way to listen to music, sure they gave us another way to access music but tapes were never the preferred choice of many people. Vinyl had a warmth and a routine to it. The taking out of the sleeve, making sure that no fingerprints were accidentally transferred and the whole putting the needle on the record added to the enjoyment of listening to music, and the CD was just so convenient.
Being able to skip tracks when you wanted was a type of freedom from having to follow a tape from start to finish as trying to skip tracks was hard using a cassette tape, and there was always the fear that the tape would get damaged in the process.
Even though tapes had their definite drawbacks, they still had their own value. At the time they were introduced they were the most mobile format and could be listened to on the go. Storage was easy and tapes were often cheaper to buy than vinyl or CD’s. Another great trait of the cassette tape was how easy it was to record onto them, with millions of us copying albums and passing them on to family or friends. Cassette tapes were a great way to share music even though they may have been flawed.
Cassette tapes were convenient, and just like anything else that makes our lives that little bit easier we love to adopt things that give us what we want, and when we want it.
The above statement applies to so many things nowadays, just take the smartphone as the prime example of how much our society values convenience. Today we carry out so many different tasks using our smartphones. We browse, shop and pay for numerous goods and services as well as sourcing our entertainment whether that is music or British online casinos.
Not only has music gone digital but also the institution of the bricks and mortar casinos where a night out would be full of glitz and glamour and beautiful people has successfully moved over to the internet. You can obviously still visit a physical casino but increased numbers of people are settling down in the comfort of their own homes to enjoy a bet or wager on their favourite games.
But before anyone points to the cassette tape as proof that we are moving backwards those sales percentages? Well, two artists made up around a third of all those sales showing us that people are not actually moving back to them but rather those limited or collector-type issues of tapes are doing better – people like to collect so this makes a lot of sense.
Under 50,000 sales is modest when you compare those numbers to 91 billion streams in the same year.
***We appreciate the support from our friends here. As always, the views and musical opinions of them do not necessarily represent that of Ear to the Ground Music (http://eartothegroundmusic.co), or it’s two handsome editors.