The cassette tape is back … but this time the station is hipster!

The cassette tape is back … but this time the station is hipster!

Vinyl returned several years ago and now finds entire sections dedicated to them even in supermarkets. Today, it is the only format that survives the dreaded digital music, although physically still deflating and everything indicates that the final advancement of online models in music consumption will occur along this 2016.

The online stores have also expanded their physical catalog: Amazon now offer 4 million CDs and 1.3 million vinyl records (which are bought more than heard). Throughout this evolution, the last of those formats that evokes other times, the cassette is not on the shelves of the Fnac and seems to disappear at the gas pump road: where does, then his course resurface?

The geographical factor

In recent years, many artists have released their work into tape as The Oh Sees, Japandroids, The Growlers, MGMT, Deerhunter or even Nelly Furtado, who sold a collaboration tape format with Blood Orange at one of his concerts Christmas in Harlem. Although they seem more specific initiatives, it notes that increasing interest from record labels grope again in this format. One of the managers JazzyMs, a small shop in the middle of Madrids Calle de la Palma, is clear: “Sooner or later, the tape will come. I look every week how the matter proceeds to bring or import as seeing movement. We will always be willing to sell, but the key is in the marketing.”

The cassette takes growing in the United States since the end of the last decade, but the industry has its own problems. Ana, And live Joplin, take a packed disco and remember what touched me is the cultural sector: “The music is very battered. I have to shove this 21% VAT, 5% extra and then the seller profits. We can only bring out the physical sale arranging this nonsense. “With these numbers in mind, it may make sense around the tape: it is cheap, it is small, and it is a collectors item and could be the salvation of an industry that cannot put fences to the field (digital).

The best stage cassette

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, the chairman of the largest producer of films in the United States, the National Audio Company, he claimed that “2015 will be our best sales year since setting up shop in 1969”. 70% of the tapes were sold in 2014 by agreements with Sony or Universal, which demonstrates the need for a strong record to reenter the tapes in our daily lives. As the main manufacturer of the most important market, we take it as a reflection of something more global.

The reality is that never have stopped edited tapes: a lot of small labels have devoted themselves to launch musical proposals in this format in our country, as Mascarpone, Alta Intensidaz, San Jose Tapes or ham Voodoo. And the phenomenon is growing unstoppable in countries such as Denmark, England, Japan or Eastern Europe, where the cassette has never failed to have a significant presence. And still the star, of course, in Arab or African countries where it is the main musical support.

Manufacturers were the last to get off the train cassette tapes level continuous rotation in 2006, just as with diskettes 3 “Living with teams playing domestic CD, still existed a reef demand: many people went to the stereo with CD player and unceremoniously abandoned his old radio cassette, but it was not so easy to change car”. However, still they are struggling to remove the tapes from the store. Manufacturers such as Maxell Bentanachs Xavier, are aware of the increased demand and study the possibilities.

Paco Fernandez of Holy Crow tells me that they have not noticed much the Burger phenomenon in terms of demand, but there have been specific requests for tapes: “Today there are many people, like the festival SINSALaudio, struggling to recover much older formats as the cylinder or sound cards because beyond the fact that they have been superseded by more modern and used, I do not think that what is intended is claim them as best, but are part of the history of recent music and have one value that goes beyond their technical virtues. In addition, in the case of the cassette, all who were born in the twentieth century we have lived with him and is part of our relationship with music and sound.”

Looking Limited Edition

The Record Store Day greatly facilitates tape rolls that lower costs and also have a nostalgic factor for a generation of music lovers. The Cassette Store Day, a much more concrete version of that celebration, last year to meet the melancholic tendency of analog versus digital and, we believe, as a result of a trend. That October 17, 2015 there were 100 exclusive titles on cassette and throughout bands like Motorhead, Kylesa or Foals, and on the national scene Muchachito or Punt Adri joined.

You may also like to read another article on xWorld: How to Compile a Mixed Tape From MP3 Files

On the one hand, are limited editions of existing titles in “viejuno” format and, secondly, tapes secondhand selling some music stores and take advantage of a little tug of limited or special editions that just came out on tape. Ana likes specially made with ribbons flamenco that has not been carried CD: “The quality analog tape is lost, and only if we imitate the United States can do to revive. We should see whose plates today and who would be willing to edit.” Many see the tape as a model that was transient: they were more portable than vinyl, but not as much as it was then an mp3. However, all professionals with whom I speak keep a special affection for the warm sound of the cassette and happy shown to the alleged revival.

Who marks its return?

People passing by and living Joplin by tapes used are generally not young, but adults who have the equipment or collectors looking for something special: “There are also some kid looking old, but generally are older. If you no longer manufactured iPods 2009 just imagine plates or cassette players … The absence of devices make the most difficult transition.”

JazzyMs responsible for the key to return the tapes are in cars: “In northern Europe is very important, move with them everywhere and equipped with good speakers. The possibility of re-listen to tapes in the car would increase the quality of that sound, and that would be a good way to implement it again. I know many truckers, for example, they spend the day on the road and install them sound good equipment that really likes music will always find ways to listen to higher quality”.

Paco, Holy Crow: “Vinyl is a better format; art results in a more elaborate and more resistant. The cassette competing for portability and usability, but today digital music is better in these two areas and more easily coexists with vinyl.Additionally, the sale of cassette has not yet affected the production of players, making it more difficult to use”.

And according to Bruno Corrales, founder of Rock Submerged and collaborator in Mondo Sonoro, “this kind of comebacks will not keep the casual consumer objects but true fans, bands and labels from the underground, with a vision that many denounce as incomprehensible rush to produce small runs of his music on cassette, with a retail and distribution almost personal.” For bands and small labels is a good option to continue editing music without much risk, you can buy music at a tempting price and also the cassette remains able to dazzle the consumer through nostalgia.


For fans, the music listening experience would not be complete without being able to tinker and occasionally fondling singles and demos more scabby of their favorite bands; Like the cinephile never stop going to the movies to live the ritual popcorn and tall guys that hide subtitles. In the end, the new democratizing ribbon sticks his paw on labels, artists and brands, and it may be worth dusting, or at least not lose much of view, this mysterious device once called walkman. For those under 20: no, not grated cheese and no, it is not an old console, but has the same magic. All this is always the eternal struggle: pragmatism or experience. Visit more tech tips.

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