The cassette revival
Posted by Roger Stormo
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Cassette edition of "Let It Be...Naked", 2003.
Never mind the vinyl revival, hot on it's heels is the cassette revival! For those of us who grew up in the seventies, many of us had our first encounters with the music of The Beatles through the cassette medium. For the past five years, the cassette tape market has been experiencing a revival, increasingly so.
In 1969, this was the first cassette player in our household.
Resident Advisor recently reported that America's biggest cassette manufacturer, National Audio Company, has seen sales increase by 33 percent since 2014. NAC owner Steve Stepp told the Chicago Tribune that his firm is making 250 to 350 titles at any given time, including 5 to 10 releases a week from Universal Music Group.
Some major artists are capitalising on the trend. Kanye West's "Yeezus" and Justin Bieber's "Purpose" both had cassette pressings, as does Macklemore's new album (which isn't on vinyl). Roy Culver of Nuclear Blast Records confirms that Slayer's recent "Repentless" LP sold out of its 1,000 cassette run before the record even came out.
Record Store Day 2015 reported growth in cassette tape sales, while a survey by ICM in April last year revealed 5 per cent of music fans had bought a cassette tape that month, up from 2 per cent the previous year.
Beatles collectors are starting to pick up on the trend, and we have seen increased prices in the used cassette market the past years.
The Beatles Golden Greatest Hits, official Swedish release from 1979.
For a long time, getting used Beatles cassette tapes has been relatively easy and affordable, but prices are on the way up. Like the case is with vinyl records, a cassette collector is mostly collecting domestic cassette releases from his own country - when branching out, the original first editions from USA and U.K. is next on the list, followed by more exotic cassettes from other countries. The short-lived trend of cassingles is also a niche to collect, and of course cassette-only releases like the famous Heineken cassette has a place in any collection.
4 cassettes in the original cellophane and a used beer can went for $68.22 USD on ebay in September 2014.