Hundreds of old cassette tapes were sitting in storage for the last ten years, and I finally had them back in my possession. The problem is, what to do with them now? Some are old band tapes that I want to transfer to mp3s, but many were mixtapes or copies of the real thing.
For instance, my older brother kept on losing The Smiths, Strangeways Here We Come, so I dubbed a copy for the car. It didn’t sound as good, but I always knew that it would be right where I left it.
Speaking of cars, how many tapes did you have in your car? I think I had over 50, stored in bins, plus the ones that were spilling over the cup holders, onto the passenger seat.
Anyways, I donated them to a person on Craigslist looking to do a project, who had never owned any cassette tapes. It actually made me feel good. But, I still kept the real ones, the original ones, even though most of them sound like shit. Now it got me thinking about vinyl’s triumphant return, and I wondered to myself, “Would cassette tapes ever make a comeback?”
Here are 5 Reasons Why The Cassette Is Not Making A Comeback.
1.) Sound quality. As an audiophile, did it ever really sound that good? I don’t think it had the warmth of vinyl or the clarity of CDs.
2.) Longevity. Didn’t the tape easily get crinkled or ripped, or stuck, or twisted? They just don’t last as well as other forms of music.
3.) Art and Information. There’s not a lot of room for lyrics or information. Even in later days when the jackets would fold out, you still had to squint to read them and there’s just not a very broad canvas for the cover art. CDs and records can stand upright, being displayed next to the player, showcasing the artwork.
4.) The hiss. I’d rather hear a record pop, than a tape hiss, because the hiss is constant. On some of these older tapes, the hiss never ends. Every listen is important, and if a record keeps popping or if a tape keeps hissing, I’m going to turn them both off.
5.) Streaming is just too easy for anyone to go back to cassettes anymore. It has ruined almost every format of music. CDs and vinyl have stayed afloat, but after the advent of streaming, the tape just doesn’t offer up enough to survive. Who wants to rewind, or fast-forward, when you can just click and play.
I know what you’re thinking, there are several artists releasing their new music on tape. As a matter of fact, I’m a huge fan of Polyvinyl, and they are doing this with most of their new releases. But, the point I’m trying to make is that is there isn’t as much value in buying a new cassette. The sound quality isn’t as good as vinyl and tapes are too much work. You don’t get a lot of bang for your buck, where I feel you do with vinyl.
What does the jury say? Are they still out, or have they come back?
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