It looks like vinyl isn’t the only retro audio format getting a second wind. The National Audio Company, one of thelargest manufacturers of cassettes, has revealed that it sold almost 10 million of these old school tapes in the past year. The question is, who’s buying them?
It looks like another format that was left for dead is making a dramatic comeback. Believe it or not, the cassette tape is selling better than it has in years, and new tape decks are again being made.
According to National Audio Company, the largest of the companies still involved in cassette manufacturing, the company sold nearly 10 million units last year (remember that vinyl only did 13 million with a lot more hoopla about it).
Of that number, a surprising 70% was actually production copies made for two of the major labels Sony and Universal, along with a few small indie labels. The other 30% were blank tapes.
The company sees such an upturn in cassette sales that it persuaded Teac/Tascam to reintroduce tape machines long out of production.
So who’s buying most of the tapes? You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t).
Just like vinyl, it’s the under-35 crowd who’s gravitating back to the format. After listening to digital music all their lives, they’ve found they preferred analog.
Although many have looked down on the cassette as an inferior playback format, a fresh tape in a well-aligned machine can actually provide surprisingly good performance.
That’s too much to hope for in this new resurgence, but it’s nice for people to experience analog audio once again.