Q: Are cassette tapes really coming back like vinyl did? Should I start investing in some new decks?
A: People are basically drowning in 90s nostalgia at this point, so I am not surprised that cassettes, like flannel, chokers, and neon, have started to come back in such a strong way. Just last week SRC Vinyl announced that they are releasing four Blink-182 albums on cassette with original album artwork on December 8th, making them available to all for Christmas and conveniently my 28th birthday (hint, hint).
I am excited that cassettes are making a comeback solely because I may be able to get some money off of my “vintage” collection that I still keep on display on my bookshelf (TLC, Hanson, Spice Girls, and Ace of Base among them).
But that’s about where my excitement stops. I am the first one to love a 90s comeback. Years ago in college I bought a hideous sweatshirt that I wore all over campus proclaiming the 90s would come back soon. I’m not saying I started the trend, just that I am very astute in understanding that EVERY decade comes back whether we like it or not. Side note: we need to brace ourselves for the ‘00s. That said…
People don’t want to rewind stuff. Vinyl records have survived because our instantly gratified generation can pick up the record player arm and replay a song or skip ahead without delay. Cassettes take time and energy to find the song you want to listen to. Sometimes you have to listen to two or three songs in pieces to get to the beginning of your favorite. Or what happens when you accidentally start playing the B-side and have to start all over? I think people may be forgetting how freakin’ hard these things were to operate.
I love my cassettes, when I see them I remember being a happy kid who was dreaming of moving to the big city and marrying Taylor Hanson and being best friends with Posh Spice. But I don’t think I’ll be investing in a cassette player anytime soon, as much as my desperately kitschy side wants me to.
I have to admit though that, according to this post, I am alone in feeling this way. National Audio Co. (one of the few cassette manufacturers still operating) had its best year of business since it opened in 1969 in 2014–selling 10 million tapes.
God help us if mini-discs come back. My advice to you: tread lightly with this one.
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