You are viewing a snapshot of Episode 527. Full episode here.

Mixtapes 2015 and the Return of the Cassette

The Return of the Cassette

On this mixtape-centric episode of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg confess they haven't recently listened to an actual cassette tape. And in this age of instantly downloadable music, the real question is: has anyone?

As it turns out, yes. Much like vinyl, cassette tapes are peeking out from obsolescence to make a significant reappearance.

The National Audio Company – the biggest of the few audio cassette producers that still exist – reported upward of 10 million cassettes sold in 2014 and a 20% increase in profit. In recent years, big-name bands like Dinosaur Jr. and MGMT have put out cassette tapes to a widely positive response. In fact, the best-selling release of Record Store Day this year was not a vinyl record at all but a cassette—Metallica's No Life Til Leather, selling close to 3,000 copies. Despite the convenience of mp3 files, cassette-tape listeners value the sound and sentiment of this old-fashioned music medium. Jim and Greg talk to Steve Stepp, the owner of the National Audio Company, about this surprising comeback.