In 2016 cassette tape sales nearly doubled. Could it catch up with vinyl?

In 2016 cassette tape sales nearly doubled since the previous year. Could it catch up with vinyl?

With the glorious expectation that vinyl will be making a fruitful comeback in 2017, it seems that the retro audio format’s little sibling, the cassette, wants to join in.

In 2016, cassette sales in the US made a uprising resurgence, almost doubling since the previous year.

Photo by Urban Outfitters
Photo by Urban Outfitters

Your old cassettes could be of value someday – the dated audio recording format is proving that it was never dead by making a popular comeback.

Compared to vinyl, which made a record breaking 3 million sales in the UK alone, in 2016 129,000 cassettes were sold as opposed to 74,000 in 2015. While the actual number of transactions is mere, a surprising increase suggests a new trend in an audio recording device that was thought to be long dead.

According to Billboard via Nielson Music, the increase in cassette sales was largely provided by pop artists who released limited edition versions of their recent music. Justin Bieber‘s Purpose and The Weeknd‘s Beauty Behind the Madness each sold nearly 1,000 copies.

However, oldies but goodies like Eminem‘s The Slim Shady LP sold around 3,000 and Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain 2,000.

The top selling cassette of 2015 and 2016 was the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack, which sold 4,000 copies in each year.

According to Billboard, 21% (27,000) of cassette album sales in 2016 was accomodated by Urban Outfitters, a multinational clothing and accessories store.

The biggest percentage of sales were sold online (47% at 55,000 cassettes) while the rest derived from “independent retail stores  (33 percent; 42,000) and chains and mass merchants (a little under 5 percent; 6,000).”

Cassette Store Day on October 8 also augmented the increase in sales, which is held annually to celebrate all things cassette and for artists to release exclusive tapes.

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