No. Just…no. The most shit-tastic music format ever is now a nostalgia thing? I have fond memories of playing tapes for most of my childhood and teenage life, but what a pain in the ass they are! People say the same about vinyl, but your record player doesn’t suck the record up into its hungry mouth and tangle the shit out of it. You don’t have to respool records with a pencil because it gets pulled out of its shell and mangled. Oh, and properly cared-for records actually sound good. That hissy tape you’re playing degrades with every listen, and eventually the tape will break…and so will your heart. Sad emoji.
Pause. Stop. Rewind! The cassette, long consigned to the bargain bin of musical history, is staging a humble comeback. Sales have soared in the last year – up 125% in 2018 on the year before – amounting to more than 50,000 cassette albums bought in the UK, the highest volume in 15 years.
…“It’s the tangibility of having this collectible format and a way to play music that isn’t just a stream or download,” says techno DJ Phin, who has just released her first EP on cassette as label boss of Theory of Yesterday. “I find them much more attractive than CDs. Tapes have a lifespan, and unlike digital music, there is decay and death. It’s like a living thing and that appeals to me.”
What’s next? Wax cylinders? I can hear it now: “I looove wax!! It sounds so shitty, like music played in a freeway tunnel during a sandstorm or something. It’s sooooo cool and unique and retro and nostalgic. Oh, and cumbersome to play and handle and store. I bought the new Katy Perry cylinder and it broke after only 2 plays! It’s, like, the best thing evarrr.”