Cassette tape sales at 20-year high
Sales of cassette tapes have reached their highest level in 20 years, according to new research.
As Radio X reports, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) found that the popularity of the format had increased for 10 consecutive years. The sales of cassettes, however, remain much lower than those of vinyl records.
The total number of cassette tape sales has risen from 3,823 in 2012 to more than 195,000 in 2022.
It is said that the spike has been driven by recent releases from major acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Harry Styles and Florence + the Machine.
Per the BPI, all 20 of last year’s biggest-selling cassettes were released in 2022.
Mark Burgess, Founder of Flashback Records in north London, told Sky News that cassette sales had “shot up” at his shop post-pandemic.
He said the old-school format appealed to younger music fans in particular due to its “collectability”.
“Because cassettes are a smaller format, it’s easier to set up a collection,” he explained. “Also, people like to have an album of music that’s sequenced in the way an artist originally intended it to.”
In 2022 vinyl outsold CD for the first time in 35 years, figures released back in January revealed.
According to BPI spokesperson Paul Williams, cassette tapes are currently enjoying a similar resurgence.
“Not long ago, people would have written off the cassette, but I think you have to learn the lessons of the vinyl market which had an incredible revival,” he said. “It’s something at a lower level, but it is happening now with cassettes.”
As NME‘s Sam Moore wrote back in February: “For many artists, the attraction of releasing their music on vinyl, CD or cassette centres around the notion of furthering their creativity and, of course, fostering a more physical connection with their fans.”
In 2020, Glass Animals drummer Joe Seaward told NME that, for his band, the chance to release their ‘Dreamland’ album on cassette was “a really nice excuse to make something beautiful that people can have as a piece of art”.
“People are watching old TV shows, films and listening to old music,” Seaward explained, citing the trend of “nostalgia”. He added: “I think that might be partly to do with why the cassette is having a bit of a resurgence.”