Cassette Tapes Are Moving Fast Forward

Are those still a thing? If you're a band trying to sell merch, they are

This sentiment is echoed by nearly everyone in the cassette game. "No one has money in this culture we're talking about," says Blair, who doesn't have a home and resorts to couch-surfing and occasionally sleeping at the store or in his van. "[Cassettes] are so cheap to make and so cheap to buy. You can get a whole album for $5."

A run of 300 professionally mastered cassettes comes out to a little more than a buck per unit, translating into a nice profit margin for a band on a tight budget. Unlike CDs, for which a band must buy a run of 1,000 units for that kind of per-unit affordability, tapes provide small-run cost-effectiveness.

"Anybody can make a CD—that's why it lost its charm," adds Bohrman. "If someone makes you a CD, I dunno, you throw it in your car and don't really worry about it because you can make another one really easily. If someone makes you a mix cassette, you're going to take good care of it because someone took really good care in making it. I think that's how people feel about it."

Tapes 'n' tapes
Tapes 'n' tapes

This speaks to another agreed-upon reason bands are drawn to making a cassette. "Novelty plays into it," Galindo says.

Blair expands on that notion. "I have a giant crush on cassettes. They're really cute; they're easy to hold," he says. "I'm sure other people think it's dumb, but whatever. It's the counterculture right now. It's a win-win. It helps the bands, it helps the labels, and people like listening to it. It's good that that's going on."

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