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Trend: Cassette revival

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Trend: Cassette revival

Postby cneutron on Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:20 pm

There seems to be a revival of the cassette.
Often reviled as a servicable, but portable way to listen to records.
We now see cassette tape "labels"
Here is a story in the LA Times
"Tape orders have definitely picked up from almost nothing in the last couple years, and it's been almost entirely indie bands," said Michael McKinney, the president of M2 Communications, the Pasadena-based CD and DVD duplication plant where Burger presses its cassettes. M2 issues between 6,000 and 10,000 tapes a month at around 70 cents apiece, McKinney said, a number clearly down from its '80s heyday of hundreds of thousands but up from its '90s and '00s doldrums of virtually zero.


People even on this forum have released and/or are releasing things on cassette.

How do you feel about this revival?
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Rotten Tanx on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:09 pm

Could either be genuine festishising or stupid cool-retro but either way pointless.

There's a reason to cling to vinyl. I don't see any reason to cling to cassettes.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Into the Void on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:17 pm

I don't know anything about this but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the same kids that are buying Members Only jackets and Wayfarers. So, Crap. Though I might reconsider if I can get something on eBay for that cassette of Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Black that's in the basement of my mom's house.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby iembalm on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:27 pm

What's happening here? Didn't I read this exact thread with different dates a couple months ago?
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby cneutron on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:36 pm

iembalm wrote:What's happening here? Didn't I read this exact thread with different dates a couple months ago?


If there is one, I couldn't find it.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby lemur68 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:18 pm

You know why cassettes died? Because they suck. They sound like shit and are fragile. I don't miss holding my finger down on the FF button to get to the fourth song, only to end up making tape spaghetti. And forget about liner art.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Mason on Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:58 pm

The band I'm in was considering doing a cassette edition of our next EP, based on the fact that we (or, more accurately, others like us) could play it in our cars. Don't know if that'll happen though.

Tapes are cheap to put out and are still readily playable in a lot of places (most people have boomboxes lying around still; even I have several). But overall, the Compact Cassette is a pretty shitty format. Poor sound, poor durability, etc.

But whatever. It's a storage format; you can put music on it and people can play it. Bands are still putting out flexi-discs as a novelty thing, even legit bands like Cold Lake, so who cares.

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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby The Flying Ninja on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:15 am

So when's there going to be a wax cylinder revival? That would be something to see.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby etch on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:43 am

I used cassettes for years: vinyl first then cassettes, then back to vinyl. I almost completely skipped cd's.

It's probably a nostalgia trend but cassettes are okay. The bummer about them was the capstan broke a lot, they would still play but you lost all the high end. It seemed like this happened the most with Columbia cassettes. In the late eighties they released a lot of albums on metal tapes, those sounded pretty damn good.

It was fun to make mix tapes and record demos on four tracks.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby cak on Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:03 am

Cassettes served an important purpose before digital recording became affordable and convenient. Now they are pretty much useless, and I feel mildly embarrassed for anyone clinging to them.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Awesome_Komodo on Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:14 am

CRAP

Somehow dumber than the vinyl revolution.
Not sure how, but it is.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby E. Norma Stitz on Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:00 am

8-Tracks are actually seeing the same revival.

I've been snapping up all sorts of sealed high end metal cassette tapes from the local thrift shops for 25 and 50 cents a pop. I can't see myself just never using a cassette deck again, you know?
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby PEPPER! on Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:18 am

The Flying Ninja wrote:So when's there going to be a wax cylinder revival? That would be something to see.

Image
sooner than you think
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Snack Chips on Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:52 am

Last time I toured the country, I found 2 great independent record stores (Domino in New Orleans and Mississippi in Portland) that sold vinyl and cassettes exclusively.

Both places sell mix cassettes that the store owners had put together, mostly of super-obscure singles or genre-based stuff (i.e. African music). Basically guys sharing their record collections in mix-tape form, for $2 or $3 a pop.

These stores are both awesome. Aquarius in SF could learn a lot from them.

There's no doubt cassettes are currently a very popular format in the underground/noise world these days, and becoming more so.

Personally I'm ambivalent. I don't really have any nostalgia for cassettes, and I like CDs fine. I don't mind people being into cassettes, though.

I would strongly suggest to all unknown bands who are planning to tour that their recorded 'merch' be on either vinyl or cassette. People are much more likely to buy your shit on these formats than on CD. And definitely don't do CD-Rs.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Bill Swansea on Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:57 am

Snack Chips wrote:I would strongly suggest to all unknown bands who are planning to tour that their recorded 'merch' be on either vinyl or cassette. People are much more likely to buy your shit on these formats than on CD.


What makes you say that?
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby dabrasha on Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:59 am

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Snack Chips on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:00 pm

Bill Swansea wrote:
Snack Chips wrote:I would strongly suggest to all unknown bands who are planning to tour that their recorded 'merch' be on either vinyl or cassette. People are much more likely to buy your shit on these formats than on CD.


What makes you say that?

Playing close to 100 shows and hanging out at close to 100 different merch tables in the last year is what makes me say that.

Keep in mind that it is somewhat genre-based. If you are opening for Wilco at the House of Blues, your CDs will probably sell fine. If you are opening for Robin Williams On Fire at Rhinoceropolis, get those cassettes in front of 'em.

I should also say that I have no idea what the state of the "cassette revival" is in the world of aluminum-beard-noisy-noise-"PRF"-rock, as I haven't much cared about it since 1999 or so. These statements of mine do not apply to that world.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby ERawk on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:11 pm

PEPPER! wrote:
The Flying Ninja wrote:So when's there going to be a wax cylinder revival? That would be something to see.

Image
sooner than you think


Black Dice is probably releasing their next album that way. Using lathes for cutting vinyl is so passe.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Colonel Panic on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:17 pm

Snack Chips/Angus Jung/Allen Sims/etc., I don't know what kind of music you play or what shows you've been attending, but I go to a hell of a lot of shows and haven't seen a cassette on a merch table in years.

If there really is a cassette revival, that's pretty stupid. For as much as I loved my mix cassettes back in the day, it's a clunky medium which degenerates terribly. It has too many moving parts that break often. These kinds of retro-media trends that impose artificial scarcity or obscurity are universally CRAP in my opinion. As others have pointed out, there are good reasons to keep vinyl around.

Cassettes, 8-tracks, etc. are crappy, obsolete and expensive compared with today's digital media. A 120 GB iPod Classic can hold around 120,000 minutes of mp3 audio (encoded at CD-quality 160 kbps VBR), it sounds a lot better and is smaller than a single tape cassette. Plus, it plays itself. There's no need for a tape deck or Walkman.

Also: ripping mp3s from a tape source is a pain in the ass and the sound quality is almost always extremely crappy due to the way tape hiss and compression affect mp3 encoders.
Last edited by Colonel Panic on Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Trend: Cassette revival

Postby Snack Chips on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:28 pm

Colonel Panic wrote:I don't know what kind of music you play or what shows you've been attending, but I go to a hell of a lot of shows and haven't seen a cassette on a merch table in years.

I've played a lot of shows, and I've never seen a dude with a monocle at any of them. So I guess we're even?

People are putting out a lot of music on cassette these days whether you believe they are or not.
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