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Youngsters rewind the decades as cassette sales rise

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: April 17, 2014

Cassettes could be making a comeback

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TEN per cent of young people are rewinding the decades by buying a music cassette during the last month.

The figures, released ahead of Record Store Day on Saturday, show cassettes are being bought by a generation which was not even born when they were all the rage.

It is hardly a backlash against digital music but the cassette is making a comeback, along with a much bigger demand for vinyl.

Gloucester mayor and indie DJ Chris Chatterton remembered cassettes and the painstaking work which went in to making a mix tape fondly, while Stroud record shop owner Simon Vincent has seen them back on customers’ radar.

“I am of the cassette generation,” said Chris, a married father-of-two and Tuffley city councillor, who ran Bounce at the Guildhall with Andrew Mitchell-Stead 20 years ago.

“At the end of the year Andrew and I would make each other mixes on cassette and it would take ages because you had to listen to all of it as you recorded from one to another.

“There were rules too - we would make them on certain themes and you always had to try and leave as little blank space on the tape as possible, so you would add up the times of the song to try and get the perfect fit.”

He said his first memory of tapes was trying to hit ‘play’ and ‘record’ at the precise moment when a track started on Top of the Pops on television.

“I was 10 or 11 and had limited funds,” he said. “It was a cheap way of getting some music - even when CDs came out I used to buy cassette singles for 49p in Our Price at the Cross, and in Woolworth’s. You got a lot for your money.”

ICM Group, which carried out the research, believes the resurgence is partly down to collectability.

It said 15% of people buy CDs, vinyl and cassettes but don’t play them - they probably listen to a downloaded version, which doesn’t come with the all-important cover artwork.

“I showed my children a cassette player at the Science Museum,” said Chris, who has a separates set but doesn’t have the cassette player connected up. “They’re museum pieces now.”

Simon Vincent of Trading Post in Stroud will be opening for Record Store Day from 8am on Saturday and expects queues in Kendrick Street from 2am.

“They will be here for the vinyl mainly,” he said. “Last year was incredible and this year will be even better. I do sell some cassettes too - I had a drum and bass collection of about 20 tapes from 2003 come in and one person pretty much bought the lot.”

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