Despite the fact that throughout technological development we’ve always wanted to progress, some people always want to regress instead. Whilst most of us are streaming our music via our smartphones, hipsters are listening to it on vinyl.
And now the vinyl brigade is helping to rebuild another resurgence in a classic form of audio engagement. What are they doing now, you ask? They are bringing back the humble cassette tape.
Cassette tapes and Walkman music players are making a weird comeback. I couldn’t really say why outside of people looking for attention/trying to stand out on their own. The cassette tape is a fractured, flawed relic of a previous era.
Yes, they looked cool and yes it seemed very interesting at the time. But today? It’s just a hassle!
I grew up in the tail-end of the cassette tape era, and I was never happier than to start buying CD-ROMs and beyond. Not having to sit and rewind things to the start, and not having to deal with the actual tape getting damaged? It was a dream.
My parents loved it; they stopped having to buy replacements when the tape would inevitably get mucked up and ruined.
Today, people are going back to using the old-school cassette player for various reasons. Perhaps it’s because the Sony Walkman played a role in making music something we could do on the go.
You didn’t have to sit down and treat music like watching TV any longer; you could listen and do things with your day!
But thanks to companies like Mulann, we are now seeing a large increase in the number of cassette tapes on the marketplace. They formed a subsidiary in 2016 called Recording the Masters.
They saw an 80% rise in their requests, and by 2018 it was able to launch a new addition called Fox.
Apparently, this is entirely complementary to the digital era. Despite personally seeing it as nothing more than people chasing nostalgia, there is an obvious market for this. It’s become massive, and it’s a marketplace in itself.
While it’s not likely to tip the scales and have us all running about with cassette players again, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to see a vinyl-like long-term resurgence.
Whether it’s people looking to get the most out of the tapes they already own or people looking to build up their collection from scratch, this is a resurgent form of audio engagement.
It’s become massive in a short space of time and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
With a record player being sold by Renou, too, for just €69, people will be able to start buying Walkman-like hardware for a fair price once again. While some (like me) see this as just another odd fad, there is a market for this that has no signs of slowing down.
And with modern cassette players coming with Bluetooth compatibility and rechargeable designs, this could be a resurgence of something old transforming it into something very new indeed.