Cassette tape sales hit highest level since 2003, new analysis shows | Ents & Arts News

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Cassette sales have hit their highest level since 2003, according to new research.

The British Phonographic Industry found they’ve increased for 10 consecutive years, although they remain much lower than vinyl.

The total number of sales have risen from 3,823 in 2012 to more than 195,000 in 2022.

This has been driven by recent releases from artists including Arctic Monkeys, Harry Styles and Florence + the Machine.

All 20 of 2022’s biggest-selling cassettes were released in that year.

Mark Burgess, Founder of Flashback Records told Sky News that at his store in North London, cassette sales have “shot up” post-pandemic.

He said that the “collectability” of cassettes makes them attractive to younger generations in particular.

“One thing that’s difficult to do is be a collector of a streaming service, because cassettes are a smaller format, it’s easier to set up a collection.

“Also, people like to have an album of music that’s sequenced in the way an artist originally intended it to.”

Mr Burgess added that at the moment, “if anything, it feels like it’s starting to engage and to get some traction”.

Mark Burgess
Image:
Mark Burgess at his record store in north London

‘They’re awesome’

Marie tends to opt for vinyl over cassettes, but she says the format of tapes is appealing.

She told Sky News: “The format will force you to get stuck in and go through the entire curation as the artist intended, because it’s not easy to move back and forward, so yeah they’re awesome”

Paul Williams, spokesperson for the British Phonographic Industry, believes cassettes are seeing a similar resurgence as vinyl.

He said: “Not long ago, people would have written off the cassette, but I think you have to learn the lessons of the vinyl market which had an incredible revival.

“It’s something at a lower level, but it is happening now with cassettes.

“There’s this return for people wanting to own music, to go out and buy.

“What we’ve noticed with the cassette market – the cassettes and the artists that are doing well are artists with real fan bases.”

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