Analogue cassette sales are booming and we're perplexed as to why!

Written by Simon Wyndham


It's not a headline you'd expect to see in 2019, but it's true!

We know that vinyl sales are pretty healthy. A desire for a bit of the old retro, as well as DJs have fuelled the sales of one of the oldest forms of audio distribution. But cassette tapes? It might be perfectly understandable that vinyl records sell nicely. Vinyl is a very physical thing and there's a kind of feeling of connection to what you are playing as you carefully lower the pickup needle onto its surface. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that sales of cassette tapes rose by 19 percent during 2018.

A cassette tape has none of the appeal of vinyl. It gets chewed up, jammed, and isn't all that attractive to look at. And yet 52.5 percent of sales are for albums three years or over in age, while 32 percent were for albums under a year and a half old.

It's rather more odd when you consider that the reason why cassette tapes were so useful in the first place. They allowed portability at a time when you generally had a choice between vinyl, reel to reel tape, or something like 8-track player in your car. When Sony brought out the Walkman it allowed anyone to listen to music on the move without having to walk around with a ghetto blaster on their shoulder. The CD followed and made things even more compact, followed by MiniDisc, MP3 players, and now modern streaming services.

So the rise of analogue cassette tape sales is somewhat perplexing. Is it purely due to retro appeal, or something else? If you are a cassette enthusiast and are one of those who have fuelled this rise in sales, we'd love to hear from you in the comments!

HT to The Verge.

Tags: Production


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