Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

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Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby never/ever » 11 Jan 2019, 11:15

I' m getting more notifications (BandCamp mostly) about artists releasing special edition cassettes of back catalogue...
If one format deserved to be burning in hell, it is the cassette. I know, many people have still nostalgic memories of them, their home-made compilation tapes etcetera etcetera...but grown people releasing their stuff on that format again for a ridiculous price?

Does anyone still play tapes anymore?
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby Bent Fabric » 11 Jan 2019, 11:51

Oh, yeah - it's not my world, but there's a moderately younger generation who seem quite keen on it for whatever reason.

A friend of mine (whose music I really love) put out his latest on cassette recently, and I'm annoyed cause...well, obviously I don't have a player. Wouldn't dream of having a player. Ridiculous things...

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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby driftin » 11 Jan 2019, 12:01

There's quite a few underground bands releasing new music on cassettes again and I think a lot of it has to do with the younger generation wanting something physical for the experience and ritual. It's the same reason vinyl made a big comeback.

There's a good YouTube channel called TechMoan dedicated to looking at old formats and in this video he makes a very good argument that cassettes are better than you (don't) remember:


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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby never/ever » 11 Jan 2019, 12:41

Two words: Tape hiss.
Even Dolby couldn't save it.
Nor the fate of any any tape left out accidentally in the sun.
Why put up with that shit again?
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby Darkness_Fish » 11 Jan 2019, 13:29

Tape his never bothered, me, no more than vinyl crackle. What does bother me is that tapes inevitably deteriorate or tangle or just give up the ghost for some unknown reason. I've got some fairly rare cassette only albums which are just unplayable now, and it seems such a pointless waste when they could have been released in a better format.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby yomptepi » 11 Jan 2019, 14:21

Fucking hipster half wits.

They will be putting out stuff on shellac 78 rpm 10" records, and then on cylinders. There really is no end to their stupidity.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby GoogaMooga » 11 Jan 2019, 14:56

Now that's one format I didn't expect to pop up again. Tape hiss was one thing, but the lifespan of those little suckers, 15 years if you were lucky. A few years ago, Accord would have refused your cassettes, now they display them in the window, go figure.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby Snarfyguy » 11 Jan 2019, 15:51

never/ever wrote:Two words: Tape hiss.
Even Dolby couldn't save it.
Nor the fate of any any tape left out accidentally in the sun.
Why put up with that shit again?

I kind of like tape hiss.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby The Modernist » 11 Jan 2019, 15:53

The hours of fun you could have unravelling chewed up tape with a bic pen though..

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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby pcqgod » 11 Jan 2019, 16:06

I've actually purchased a few new music cassettes in recent years. I have a tape deck and a way to transfer to cd, so it's no more bother to me than having to buy vinyl. Less, even.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby harvey k-tel » 11 Jan 2019, 16:36

I no longer have a tape deck, and I'd have to break out my dusty old Tascam 4-track machine if I needed to listen to one or transfer old stuff to digital, and that in itself is a pain in the ass, so there's really no likelihood of my jumping on this particular bandwagon. There's a local shop that opened up a couple of years ago that caters to the resurgence, and sells only cassettes (mostly, it seems, after a quick glance at their website, of local acts that are only releasing cassettes which seems a bit ouroboros-ey, but whatever) and I'm curious to see how their business plays out.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby GoogaMooga » 11 Jan 2019, 16:48

Back in the days of fanzines, Factsheet Five would sometimes carry ads for homemade tape comps containing incredibly strange music that was so very grey area with regard to copyright. They were nice jobs, using xeroxed inlays and labels to make them appear as cult and underground as possible. You'd send a few dollar bills in the post and a week later you could open those delightful little packages. Kinda miss that whole anarchic spirit, but for "good" music I can't have anything other than digital, not even vinyl.
Last edited by GoogaMooga on 11 Jan 2019, 17:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby yomptepi » 11 Jan 2019, 16:49

harvey k-tel wrote:I no longer have a tape deck, and I'd have to break out my dusty old Tascam 4-track machine if I needed to listen to one or transfer old stuff to digital, and that in itself is a pain in the ass, so there's really no likelihood of my jumping on this particular bandwagon. There's a local shop that opened up a couple of years ago that caters to the resurgence, and sells only cassettes (mostly, it seems, after a quick glance at their website, of local acts that are only releasing cassettes which seems a bit ouroboros-ey, but whatever) and I'm curious to see how their business plays out.


like all trust funded hipster business, it will be played out wearing drainpipe jeans, a checked shirt, an improbable beard and an irritating vocal inflection. It will be in business until daddy pulls the money, or until the boss gets offered a proper job with Coopers and Lybrand. That certainly is how these ill conceived and poorly run vanity enterprises work in East London.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby GoogaMooga » 11 Jan 2019, 17:04

How about upstart bands who can't afford to press vinyl or CD? Cassettes are a viable option if they want to share their music.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby yomptepi » 11 Jan 2019, 17:05

GoogaMooga wrote:How about upstart bands who can't afford to press vinyl or CD? Cassettes are a viable option if they want to share their music.


Fuck 'em.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby GoogaMooga » 11 Jan 2019, 17:07

yomptepi wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:How about upstart bands who can't afford to press vinyl or CD? Cassettes are a viable option if they want to share their music.


Fuck 'em.


:lol:
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby Deebank » 11 Jan 2019, 17:11

GoogaMooga wrote:How about upstart bands who can't afford to press vinyl or CD? Cassettes are a viable option if they want to share their music.



Is it expensive to burn CDs?
The last proper demo I released in a band (some time in the mid 90s) was burned on to CDR. The CDs were gold and we printed the insert artwork and all the details on clear acetate - the stuff you might use for overhead projector slides. For a homemade effort it looked really good.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby Rayge » 11 Jan 2019, 17:37

Cassettes basically got to be big deal because of the Walkman, and because it was a way of sharing your stuff with someone else, either by simply ripping a latest album or my making mixtapes or collages. And of course they were often cover-mounted on music mags as a promotional tool (I remember there was an attempt in 81 or so to launch a music mag on cassette, mounted on an A4 card with contact details and info about the music and interviews and talk pieces on the tape: former NMEer Max Bell was the editor). And there were punk and post-punk bands, such as Mike Scott's Another Pretty Face, who did cassette-only releases, and ROIR put out some tasty otherwise unavailable stuff by such as the MC5, so I acquired a fair few of them (while still keeping vinyl as my bought music of choice up to 1997). And [pretension alert] actually made and distributed a series of very low tech themed assemblages on cassette that I considered as a single confessional meta-fictional artwork ironically entitled Great Moments in Rock and Roll [/ pretension alert]. But then there were iPods, and so my tapes were packed away. Just recently, because we've been packing in anticipation of a move, I uncovered a cache of a couple of hundred of them, and seeing as most of my CDs are packed, that my CD player rejects two in three and that I have recently been reaquainted with an old fashioned boom box that pumps out a fair noise, those tapes I made - the masters of the mixtapes, lots of spoken word stuff by various beats and bukowski, have been a godsend.
And people are certainly still buying them, loads listed on discogs, some decent prices too.
And tape hiss isn't a problem, in fact I used to turn the Dolby off because I like a nice bit of treble, me.
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby Deebank » 11 Jan 2019, 18:04

They sound interesting.
I think - in Europe? - car stereos were also an important factor in their popularity. 8 track never caught on here.

I’ve got lots of (my own various) band demos and rehearsals and loads of promo and demo tapes from bands circa 1988 - carter USM! And a couple of good band too!
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Re: Cassettes? Is that a thing again?

Postby bobzilla77 » 11 Jan 2019, 18:27

GoogaMooga wrote:How about upstart bands who can't afford to press vinyl or CD? Cassettes are a viable option if they want to share their music.


Not anymore. That was a valid reason to do cassette releases in the 1980s and 90s. Today almost no one in your target audience is likely to have a working cassette player. And cassette duplication is more expensive than CD printing, either homemade or at the pressing plant.

It's ultra niche hipster indie collector mentality at its purest. Nothing wrong with that. But it is not to do with music, sound quality, ease of reaching the audience, cost reduction or anything practical.
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