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Why Audio Cassettes are Still in Vogue

The cassette has been one of the preeminent music storage formats for many years. Officially released in 1962, the cassette tape was wildly popular from the ’70s onwards; it was smaller and easier to store than a record, made recording and playing back music or even your own voice incredibly easy. It also leads to the development of the Sony Walkman, which paved the way for the Discman and eventually the iPod. Many people have fond memories of using cassette tapes and like many old formats, there is some feeling of nostalgia when we look over then or play them. Indeed, the format is no quite archaic and has been replaced by more efficient technologies. But the cassette tape is by no means dead and there is in actual fact a great deal of demand out there for them.

The Cassette Revival

The use of cassette tapes in recent times is not as uncommon as you think, and the format has seen something of a revival over the past few years. There are various artists and genre that still make sure their music has cassette tape releases, often due to the demographics of their fan-base. Others, particularly those in the alternative or underground music scenes, prefer to use cassette tapes for their ease of use and affordability. The data suggest that fans of underground, lesser-known music scenes and artists account for a large proportion of total revenue for cassette tapes, although major labels like Disney, Sony and Universal often have tapes produces as well.

Recent Case Studies

Interestingly, the soundtrack for one of the top-grossing films of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy, was launched as an audiocassette. This was also something of a marketing move on the part of the film’s producers, as Guardians of the Galaxy featured a number of throwback tracks from the '80s and the idea here was to tap into that nostalgia that so many of us can relate to. This worked very well as the National Audio Company revealed that 10 million tapes were produced in 2014 and it was the best year in sales since the 1960s.

But this is not necessarily an isolated incident, as audio cassettes continue to sell quite well, particularly in the U.S. One case study is National Audio, who are seeing increased revenue from the sale of cassettes, including a 31% increase from 2015 to 2016.

Following the Path of Vinyl

This is all very interesting and we’ve seen it happen in the past in the case of the vinyl format. The nostalgia factor is also a huge selling point for vinyl records when you consider that they are even more out-of-date and potentially inconvenient than Nevertheless, demand has stayed relatively strong. 2007 marked the lowest year in terms of vinyl sales but has grown every single year since, including seeing $2.1 million in 2015. The cassette tape seems to be following the same path, with sales numbers increasing as time goes on and people’s demand for it seeing a resurgence.

Will there always be demand out there for cassette tapes? That remains to be seen. What we do know is that the revival is real and as long as using this format brings old memories back, people are going to want to use them! Keep in mind that your old cassette tapes will potentially become damaged, so it can be a good idea to have old recordings converted to a newer format before it’s too late. Speak to Cineclair Productions for more info about audio cassettes to CD.

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