The Resurgence of Cassettes
By Ivy Cloutier
The Resurgence & Importance of Cassettes
In a world that increasingly is digitally based, especially in the music industry, there’s been an analog shift recently, specifically in the favor of cassettes. In 1962, cassettes were created and eventually took the world by storm. But, this begs the question, why are they back? With a plethora of music listening options available, why go with the option that requires a pencil once the tape ends? Even grammy.com stated, “it's no joke: cassettes have fast-forwarded in popularity and re-emerged as the underdog music format of choice for experiential listeners.” So what’s the reason for the resurgence? Turns out there’s plenty!
Let's Get Physical...
One reason to be in favor of cassettes is the physical element. Just like some people prefer a hard copy of a book over a ebook, there’s a much more special connection to a piece of art when there is a tactile element. And, cassettes are the perfect vehicle for that. They’re not too big that they take up too much space, and also given how fragile tape can be, they’re far more resilient than a CD. But the reasons to be in favor of cassettes don't end there.
Visually, cassettes, much like vinyl, allow for artists to have more creative space to make album art. A large part of the overall feel and mood associated with an album comes from the cover itself. In many instances, is the reason some folks pick up an album at all! So, from a business standpoint, it makes sense for artists to add cassettes to their merchandise repertoire. As opposed to being limited to just one small version of the album cover. Which, is the case for many streaming platforms.
Like anything that gains a resurgence in popularity, there will always be people on both sides of the coin especially in terms of sound quality. Now, it’s almost an undeniable fact that people aren’t flocking to cassettes because of the sound quality, because there are many, superior vehicles for music with much better sound. But, where cassettes may lack in sound quality, they make up for in other ways like being physical, larger creative canvas, and last but not least…
They're Just Fun!
Things don’t need to have a special new purpose, rhyme or reason. Even though there are, from a technical standpoint, much better options than tapes available, there’s a fun, nostalgic, shareable element to cassettes. And this is something that other digital modes can’t deliver on. There’s something so much more personable about making someone a mixtape on actual tape as opposed to just an online playlist.
But ultimately what it really comes down to is personal preference. You want to listen to digital music exclusively that’s awesome! Vinyl only? Sick! Cassettes in your car with the windows down and a slight chill in the air? Perfect! What’s really most important is making sure the artists’ story, and messages are delivered to as many willing, and eager ears as possible and cassettes make that a reality, and much like a VHS tape, always remember to be kind, rewind.