Forget vinyl, cassettes had their best year in ages in 2017

The annual Nielsen Music end of year report was released last week, revealing a whole bunch of super insightful stats on music sales and other music data from 2017.

Unsurprisingly, vinyl had another stellar year, with stats suggesting the resurgence is not going to be slowing down any time soon. But there’s another analog format that killed it in 2017: cassette.

Cassette sales 2017

Cassettes killed it in 2017 with a 35% increase in sales compared to 2016, marking the format’s best year since 2012.

As the report notes, 2017 saw a 35% “increase in cassette tape sales vs. 2016, [with] 174,000 units sold…marking the largest sales for the format since 2012.”

As The Hollywood Reporter note, cassettes still remain a very niche format, comprising just 0.10 percent of all album sales in 2017 and just 0.17 percent of physical album sales. Nonetheless, it has made sizeable gains since the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, to the point that we saw some major releases make their way to the format in 2017, including Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life and Taylor Swift’s Reputation.

This was reflected in the top selling cassettes of the year, which included three of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks, the Stranger Things soundtrack, and The Hamilton Mixtape, plus a few classic like Nirvana’s Nevermind, and Prince’s Purple Rain. 

Keep in mind that the Nielsen report accounts for U.S sales only. And that with the format being synonymous with DIY culture and indie releases, there is plenty of data that would not have been accounted for.

What was the last cassette you bought?

Check out the full Nielsen Music 2017 End of Year Music Report here.