After a decade of watching mp3 files and iPods replace CDs, the music business saw a massive resurgence in the sales of vinyl records, first out of secondhand record stores and then from hip clothing outlets like Urban Outfitters. Now, it appears that cassettes are back, too!
Cassettes are back in vogue thanks to indie musicians that distribute their music on cassettes as a cheap, unique, memorable way to get it into the hands of fans. Now, major mainstream artists have joined in - Marina and the Diamonds, Justin Bieber, and Kanye West have all recorded new albums onto cassette tapes, reported Metro.
What's the appeal? They're cheap, small, and "vintage", but they also have a special sound quality. Not unlike vinyls, they deliver a somewhat grittier sound that, in some cases, enhances the music and sounds more like the artist intended. The crystal-clear crispness of mp3 files and perfect headphones isn't always the goal, reported Virgin. The intimacy and personal touch of homemade mixtapes is also a factor.
Music just sounds different on tape, sometimes as it was originally intended to sound. Lee Rickard, founder of Burger Records, explained that that's not their only source of appeal. "Cassettes are compact, tangible, instant collectables, often with original and numbered artwork - and as cheap as a cup of coffee, so you can support your local artist without buyer's remorse," said Rickard, according to The Daily Mail.
Burger Records is also looking into making a machine called "Burger Buddy" to play cassettes and also convert them to mp3 files so you can still listen to your purchase on your phone or iPod. Best of both worlds! You can also still buy cassette players from makers like Phillips, reported Metro.