The first album I ever bought with my own money was Men at Work’s “Business as Usual” in the fall of 1982. A few months later, I picked up “Pyromania” by Def Leppard. Both of those were on cassette.
My tape collection grew steadily until the early ’90s when CDs began to push cassettes off the record store shelves. Eventually, cassettes disappeared altogether. But don’t look now. They appear to have been enjoying a bit of a renaissance.
Sales of cassettes have been increasing over the past few years. According to Forbes, cassette sales grew 74% in 2016 and another 35% in 2017. Last year, they were up a whopping 125%. However, I wouldn’t rush to pay top dollar for a vintage Sony Walkman on eBay just yet.
Those sales figures can be deceiving. A mere 50,000 units sold in 2018 and of those, just three artists made up 1/3 of them: The 1975, Kylie Minogue, and Prodigy. Not that many artists are committed to releasing their music on cassette. So, while tapes haven’t officially flat-lined, they’ll probably remain something that only the most passionate of music fans collect. But just in case, you might want to have a pencil handy for quick repairs.