TBT: The Cassette Tape Is Having a Revival

By Fiona Ralph
Kanye West's "Yeezus" in the form of a cassette tape. Picture / Supplied.

Cassette tape releases aren't just for indie bands anymore. Justin Bieber's Purpose can be purchased on tape, Kanye West's Yeezus has been re-released in the format, Urban Outfitters has a dedicated cassette section on their online store and there are cassette-only "record" labels (okay, these are still pretty indie).

If this and the vinyl revival are anything to go by, compact discs could be next.

My concern is not how to get my hands on the latest analogue sounds, but what to do with all the tapes and CDs still languishing in my closet from the first time around.

And how many more boxes of out of date audio will I accumulate, with technology advancing - and regressing - at such rapid rates? Even digital music libraries are becoming redundant, with the increased popularity of streaming.

Since my old CDs are (obviously) scratched and the tapes sound relatively whiny, the main reason I hold onto them is their cover art.

Plus, of course, hand-made mixtapes aren't as easy (emotionally or environmentally) to dispose of as a shared playlist.

The novelty factor of tapes will likely wear out soon. Most musicians agree the sound is not as good as a vinyl recording, and there's the inconvenience of carting a whole stack around, and having to rewind and fast forward blindly each time you want to find a song.

Unlike old CDs, at least most of my tapes still play, if at times a little slowly. And the feeling of popping one into an original boombox and pushing down play can't be beat. No searching, tapping, swiping or saving, just the good old fuzz and whirr of a magnetic tape reel to tune into.

Flying Nun has an extensive cassette offering - browse them here.

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