Audio Cassette Front

NEWS: Return of the Tape Cassette!

THEY’RE BACK! Just when you thought music was going 100% digital – Return of the Tape Cassette!

Oh the good old days. We listened to radio and bought records and made our own with the little invention called the tape cassette. They were available to buy so cheaply and readily and so we sat in our bedroom’s with the ghettoblaster in front of us and we taped all our favourite songs from the radio, we taped from our record collection, we taped ourselves singing, in fact we taped anything and everything!

Cassettes

The tape is a wiley little invention that turned up in 1962. It consisted of two sides, an A and a B side, so full album’s could be recorded on them, often one on each side with a large capacity cassette. Tapes saw increased popularity from the end of the 1960’s and into the 1970’s, but it was the 1980’s that would see cassette tape sales reach their zenith. The years 1985-1992 were especially prolific as tapes outsold all other media, particularly with black cassettes used by us all to record, well anything!

As with everything, progress leads to decline and by the mid-1990’s the CD had claimed the top spot for music media and tapes began to decline. Sales of pre-recorded music cassettes in the US dropped from 442 million in 1990 to 274,000 by 2007 and whilst most albums and singles were bought on CD, record companies generally stopped producing a cassette format from the end of the 1990’s.

However, sales of blank tapes continued and in 2012 over two million were sold globally! And with all things retro, it’s recently become accustomed by many artists and groups to release their latest recording via a limited number of cassettes. And they are being laped up within seconds. Indeed, since 2016, cassette tape sales have seen a modest resurgence, with 2016, 2017 and 2018 all showing increased sales year on year, with sales so far in 2018 on par with those at the beginning of this century!

Perhaps the best example of this has been the issue (in two batches) of Kylie Minogue’s number one album “Golden“, which is by far the biggest selling cassette album of 2018. Copies of the album have been snapped up in seconds of their availability being made on line through the artist’s website, and has contributed to two swift ascents of album charts everywhere they have been bought.

Kylie Golden cassette

So perhaps we’re not going totally digital just yet. Maybe ‘streaming’ won’t rule the world just yet. Because if tapes are on the increase, you need something to play them on, and modern music systems, particularly those with a record deck are now being produced with a tape deck as well! So if like me, you have drawers or boxes full of thirty and forty year old cassettes, perhaps it’s time to bring them out, stack them in artist and chronological order and pay homage to a medium that in times past was the only one we had total control over what side we played, where we fast forwarded to, paused and more importantly, what we recorded to make the albums we wanted to hear and share. Amen.

Mixtape

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!

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