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Thoughts on Cassette Releases?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Thoughts on Cassette Releases?
musicweasel
I never realized people were releasing to cassette until a friend approached me and wants to release some of my music on cassette. It seems like a pretty cool medium, portable, cheap and sounds pretty good.

But is this just a passing fad? Or has it already passed? Or do you think it has a future like the resurrection of vinyl in the early 2000s?

I just don't want to get into something that will seem stupid in 3 years wink
GuyaGuy
Well Urban Outfitters sells tapes if that tells you anything...Guardians of the Galaxy and Stranger Things both had tape releases for retro-heads, which I'm sure was a boost for the uptick last year.

I'm sure for some it's a nostalgia thing. For others it's a way of supporting an artist more directly than streaming their music. It is kind of funny that you can barely give away CDs anymore but people will gladly pay $13 for a crappy cassette.

The vinyl resurrection has actually developed into a growing market.

sparood
musicweasel wrote:
It seems like a pretty cool medium, portable, cheap and sounds pretty good.


Isn't this enough reason to go to cassette? No? What kind of monster are you?

Quote:
I just don't want to get into something that will seem stupid in 3 years wink


The only way to look stupid is not to release anything at all. Releasing on cassette means you actually took time and effort (and probably money if you can not find a label) for your release, it will be more appreciated than doing digital only and it's a great medium. No one will remember you in 5 years time if you do digital only.

Digital only is lazy and boring. Cd's are there if you can sell 300+ and vinyl is expensive and a pain to do shipping, so only worth it if you know you can sell enough copies.....or being brave thumbs up

Also for costs, getting 50 tapes can easily set you back €150 or more. Yes it's cheap, but it's still more money than digital.
Euro Trash Bazooka
People have never stopped listening and making tapes but that's what the music industry wants you to believe. Same with vinyl records. Some scenes entirely rely on tapes or records as media (noise/industrial, hardcore punk, metal to some extent, hiphop, etc...) and to be honest, it's what I listen to the most. I still regularly buy new release on tape, dub plenty of them, release my music on this format (there's a handmade DIY feel I love when it comes to assembling them and dubbing them at home when I don't get them pro-pressed) and they're quite affordable.

There most certainly is a trend thing going on with that Record Store Day crap and bigger labels realising records are in again, therefore blocking pressing plants with reissues of Madonna albums whereas small labels have to wait for months in line for the plants to treat their orders. But I'm digressing, sorry...

I don't think that trend has reached the tape format yet although there are indeed people here and there trying to capitalise on the medium by selling tapes for ridiculous prices whereas they're quite cheap to produce. A pro-pressed tape with a decent quality cover shouldn't cost more than 5€/$6 to produce.

So yeah, tapes, go for it!!! + shelves full of tapes look great! Mine are overflowing here...
Panason
Quote:
Euro Trash Bazooka


awesome. Guinness ftw!
teamhobson
Tapes are wicked and certainly not a passing fad. Any physical format (within reason) is better than a digital release. Anyone can release digital music, you have to have a certain level of confidence and extra level of quality control in the music you're releasing on a physical format. I would feel super flattered if someone asked to invest time and money in pushing my music
Muzone
Tapes aren't a passing fad, they're passed - gone, extinct, dead with only the painfully hip and unintentionally retro having the means to play them.

I mean a guy tried to give me a cassette of his music last week and I was like "no way man, wax cylinder or nothing, keep it real bro'..."

Outside of experimental use (which is often is cool and inventive I agree) the compact cassette is better off not even mentioned, let alone revived as a medium for serious music reproduction......
gruebleengourd
Muzone wrote:
Tapes aren't a passing fad, they're passed - gone, extinct, dead with only the painfully hip and unintentionally retro having the means to play them.


I ran a tape label for a few years 2009-2012 or so. When I started I was very focused on releasing music that did not fit into the 'tape scene' which at the time consisted mostly of noise/art releases and diy hardcore and metal.

It was really tough to convince stores to stock them, but I eventually got distro around the world and and managed to get 100s of musical art objects into people's hands around the globe. At the time for the styles of music, and the lack of interest in touring, vinyl didn't make much sense and digital only is not so much fun.

I remember when I went to Beijing with a suitcase of tapes in 2011 and I was passing them out, people were like "How can I play this." One year later when I returned there stickers plastered in the cool club for a band called Cassette, people sold them at the merch table, and there were shops that specialized in NOS. So people do think they are neat. If it's a 'fad' it's one that's been growing for about 10 years now... Just look at bandcamp. I think it's probably the most common phyiscal format available there.
gruebleengourd
Muzone wrote:
let alone revived as a medium for serious music reproduction......


My tape deck reproduces music better than a record player. That's good enough for pleasure listening.
DickMarker
Tapes never died, the market for them just got a lot more niche.

They're not without their charm imo.
buzzlegs
Muzone wrote:
Tapes aren't a passing fad, they're passed - gone, extinct, dead with only the painfully hip and unintentionally retro having the means to play them.

Outside of experimental use (which is often is cool and inventive I agree) the compact cassette is better off not even mentioned, let alone revived as a medium for serious music reproduction......


Tascam are actually making brand new cassette machines now, cassette use is growing massively, when i release music tapes are actually the biggest selling format and should not be ignored... when i heard cassettes again after not hearing them for years i was really surprised how interesting they sound, it's a pleasurable listen imo.
drip.feed
buzzlegs wrote:
Tascam are actually making brand new cassette machines now


Indeed they are:



(From here: https://ask.audio/articles/tascam-announces-202mkvii-dual-cassette-dec k-with-usb-for-next-generation-tape-heads)

nanners
aokjoey0
[quote="Muzone"]...
I mean a guy tried to give me a cassette of his music last week and I was like "no way man, wax cylinder or nothing, keep it real bro'..."
quote]
ROTFL lol
ZLAL
A bit of devil's advocate.

"Digital only" is often derided as soulless and "putting the effort" into producing a physical release is lauded. Consider, however, the dollar bins of viny, CDs, and tapesl rotting and landfill destined in music stores across America. Often times tapes seem like a happy medium for those who are interested, perhaps ideologically, in physical releases but lack the self funding or audience interest to put something out on vinyl. My general area of experience is techno, where vinyl records ostensibly serve a material purpose (DJing) but tapes don't really work in that respect and the shift towards digital does seem somewhat inevitable.

I admit I do collect records and tapes and appreciate physical releases, but combing record stores often fills me with a particular sort of late stage capitalism oriented malaise. It's nice to have a physical product to have on tour but sometimes I wonder if the tapes and records that I have, myself, been a part of are being listened to regularly or if they are simply more accumulating
stuff in a world filled with plenty of that.

tl;dr Consider, when producing physical releases, if the world needs and or desires them.
ersatzplanet
I have recently been asked by a couple of record labels in the EU about releasing old music from cassette releases by bands I was in back in the late 70's and 80's. Three of them have been released so far on record labels. Basically a slight remastering of cassettes that we released "back in the day" are now limited pressed album releases. The Cassettes are still being passed around on Discogs. I was frankly pretty amazed there was an interest in them after all this time. The LPs were made for Young Scientist, Sequencer People, and K7SS, all bands I was in in Seattle.
MindMachine
buzzlegs wrote:
Tascam are actually making brand new cassette machines now, cassette use is growing massively, when i release music tapes are actually the biggest selling format and should not be ignored... when i heard cassettes again after not hearing them for years i was really surprised how interesting they sound, it's a pleasurable listen imo.


They (Teac/Tascam) never stopped making them.

In the USA you can get cassettes mass produced by National Audio Company. I have been buying my blank cassette tape from them for many years. I haven't had anything recorded massed by them, but there they are.
Koekepan
ZLAL wrote:
tl;dr Consider, when producing physical releases, if the world needs and or desires them.


Small counterpoint:

https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/why-the-music-industry-should-t reasure-its-vinyl-and-cd-superfans/

Granted, it's from the world of the evil, blood-sucking, corporate, soul-destroying, amoral monsters, but there is a point that also applies to independent artists.
ersatzplanet
Saw this today. This is pretty weird to me - a deck that plays files but has a LCD touch screen *behind a door* that shows images of cassettes playing. At least I think it is built in since they don't show it being popped out and there are no holes in the display for the tape spindles to poke through. Might be some sort of custom rig.


clarke68
The first tape I bought (since the '80s) was in 2011. I was really surprised how great it sounded...much better than what I remembered from my teen years. I still prefer CDs to any other format, but if I want the music (or just want to support the artist) I'll buy just about anything these days. I actually like vinyl the least: expensive, takes up a lot of space, and requires the most effort to listen to...but it has it's charms, my opinion may swing back around someday.
umma gumma
ersatzplanet wrote:
Saw this today. This is pretty weird to me - a deck that plays files but has a LCD touch screen *behind a door* that shows images of cassettes playing. At least I think it is built in since they don't show it being popped out and there are no holes in the display for the tape spindles to poke through. Might be some sort of custom rig.




that is bizarre!!

I suppose it is soothing in a way: seeing mechanical movement as music plays

I wonder if you can control the brightness/contrast? otherwise it would get pretty annoying, esp at night


.
gruebleengourd
ZLAL wrote:

tl;dr Consider, when producing physical releases, if the world needs and or desires them.


There is actually no new cassette tape being made. New cassette shells/cases perhaps. But no new tape. All these releases are being produced from NOS material left in warehouses. So from an ecological if the world needs stuff perspective, we're making creative use of what would otherwise continue to be warehoused or dumped. Maximizing the utility of what has already been produced.
ersatzplanet
clarke68 wrote:
The first tape I bought (since the '80s) was in 2011. I was really surprised how great it sounded...much better than what I remembered from my teen years. I still prefer CDs to any other format, but if I want the music (or just want to support the artist) I'll buy just about anything these days. I actually like vinyl the least: expensive, takes up a lot of space, and requires the most effort to listen to...but it has it's charms, my opinion may swing back around someday.


I am still a fan of MiniDisc myself. I have a Sony MXD-03 deck (a unit built for ripping CDs directly to MiniDisc) and a couple of small portable players and recorders. I love the format's ergonomics. Very much like Neo in the matrix (I would love to store data on them).
clarke68
ersatzplanet wrote:
I am still a fan of MiniDisc myself.

I coordinated a wedding back in the '90s where the DJ used MiniDisc. I remember being seriously impressed and swore I'd buy one, but by the time I had the money the world had moved on. I think Sony might win the award for the highest number of formats introduced by a single company.
onoffonoffonoff
ersatzplanet wrote:

I am still a fan of MiniDisc myself. I have a Sony MXD-03 deck (a unit built for ripping CDs directly to MiniDisc) and a couple of small portable players and recorders. I love the format's ergonomics. Very much like Neo in the matrix (I would love to store data on them).


Damn right. I also wanted that Sony PSP format, basically a miniature DVD in a cartridge case, as a data format. If Sony had released a recorder for that... I mean, I love the compactness of flash drives, but dammit if I lose another microsd in my carpet...
onoffonoffonoff
My old band did a cassette release. Basically sold out instantly (only about a 100 or so?). No idea who bought it; none of the band even have a cassette player anymore. Vinyl is still fun, but the majors have production locked up for the next few years; very hard to get a spot for a little 100-200 pressing, from what I understand. I believe some boutique pressers have come online recently, though, but haven't looked into it.

Outside of the boutique factor, I'd probably skip buying a cassette, even though it's the format of my youth. I dunno, I'd have to think about it, but I'd probably be more apt to buy something like a Cowon D or similar and load it up with music and videos before I picked up another cassette (and cassette player) if I absolutely had to.
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