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Opinion: Could cassette tapes find their own comeback story?


CassetteBy Caitlin Fry

Rejected music formats unite! The record players and vinyl records have made a comeback in this digital music age, why shouldn’t cassette tapes give it go?

Yes, those little plastic boxes with the shiny magnetic tape that twirls round and round once placed into your stylin’ boombox may not be completely dead. While you may be tempted to pull out the attractive magnetic tape to use as party streamers—because, let’s face it, you’re a college student on a budget and you can’t afford streamers—you should refrain!

Indie bands are reviving old technology and are releasing their music on cassette tapes once again. Why? It’s faster and it’s cheaper, duh. (Isn’t that always the answer?)

Various media sources have written about the possible comeback of the compact cassette tape, including USA Today. In their article, “Cassette tapes see new life after MP3s,” we’re thrown back into the 1980s and 90s, reliving the glory years of the rise of the compact cassette tape.

Cassette tapes were music lovers’ number one choice for music in the early 90s with 442 million cassettes  shipped in 1990 alone. Soon, young music lovers were toting around their “Walkman” cassette players while walking to class or going on a jog. Then there were those who preferred the very cool boombox, and practically had the thing glued to their shoulder.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, as of mid-August, music-related cassette album sales are up 46% from last year at 22,000 units sold. Last year cassette album sales were at about 15,000.

While vinyl records continue to be popular among music lovers, some fans are turning to cassette tapes because of the higher vinyl price points.

Musicians and music lovers alike are going back to the roots of great music — it’s about the connection, feeling the music in your hands, and attachment that brings. Instead of downloading a digital song, which is more about convenience than connection to the music, the indie genre is provoking listeners to slow down and really FEEL.

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