Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hands up, who still has a Walkman?

One in 10 young people has bought a music cassette tape in the last month, a new survey done to coincide with Record Store Day suggests.

The research suggests that physical formats are still more popular than digital downloads.

"There's definitely a novelty value with cassettes at the moment, particularly as we suspect a high proportion of them are collectibles sitting on a shelf and never played," said Maurice Fyles, who worked on the research ahead of Record Store Day.

Over half of the people who do this bought a vinyl record, 48% a CD and 23% an audio cassette tape that they have no intention of ever listening to.

"Perhaps it's a reaction to the digital world, but physical formats that we might have thought were relegated to history are being revived as fans and collectors opt for limited editions and promotional copies of their favourite music across a range of formats."
Read more on the BBC

And here's an appropriate song from the marvellous Avenue Q - it's Mix Tape:

By way of coincidence, Avenue Q - which we went to see back in 2007 - returns to London for a limited run next week at the Greenwich Theatre!


  1. I am glad to see that the physical formats have been getting more popular again, in this bloody digital age!

    However, sales of music in general continue to slide. Streaming (yuck) seems to be the latest thing, especially if people can do it totally free. Music has become so disposable to many, it seems, that they have no intention of paying for it. Which is why I love seeing people that have enough respect for the music to actually buy it, let alone on CD/LP or yes, even MC!

    Record Store Day is next Saturday. I had my local record store order for me a limited 7" of "Golden Boy", and unreleased Kylie Minogue track (fingers crossed they got a copy for me). I go to that store every week to browse (and buy!) music, mostly LPs and 12"/7" records. I play everything I buy, often to discover new songs and mixes that I have never heard before. I know you can do that online too, but nothing beats the feeling of finding a gem, going home and playing it while enjoying the artwork, reading the credits etc. I look forward to going to that store on Saturday, browsing through various exclusive releases with other record lovers, listen to DJ's play and celebrate the fact that yes, there are still people out there that want to own their music!

    But back to the cassette format, he-hee. It seems to be very "indie" these days to release music on cassettes. I only used cassettes when I was a kid (for my walkman, you see) and to records songs from the radio or LP's I borrowed from friends before I had the money to buy my own copies. I have loads of Madonna/Kylie cassette albums and singles that I never even played - they just looked so cute that I had to have them in my collection ;) I don't even have a cassette player these days, it was always my least favorite format.

    But I digress: in short, hurrah for the physical formats of music and for the people buying them. I just wish that the lack of CD singles didn't mean that a 1trk promo CD can go for over 100 pounds these days, since it is often the only way to get an actual physical copy of a new single by your favorite artist!

    1. I have always preferred physical formats of music, although the lure of the download has not excaped me either. I mourned the original demise of the vinyl album, as in my opinion nothing could quite beat it for showcasing artwork (and, if audio purists are to be believed, it turns out that the sound is infinitely better than digital).

      I mourn even more the current trend towards "throwaway music" - streaming, iPods etc - and if at all possible I do like to add to our vast, space-gathering CD library rather than keeping tracks on the PC or a "device". We even create out of random, otherwise unconnected tracks, our own "mixtape-equivalents" (compilation CDs) to add to the stack!

      I am on a planned shopping trip with mys sister and friends on Saturday, so I shall try and make sure I take a detour to one of London's myriad music emporia to mark Record Store Day. I may even fork out for a copy of that Roisin Murphy EP...


    2. The vinyl format will always remain fabulous - but at least the CD was another type of actual, physical format. The sound, IMO, is always better on LP when compared to an 80s or even early 90s CD (the debut album from Janet Jackson for example sounds amazing on vinyl, not so much on the CD).

      Glad to see that I am not the only one that still makes the occasional "mixtape" compilation ;) Good luck with Miss Murphy - if you get it, please let me know how it is.

  2. Replies
    1. I have no doubt that was indeed your "look" back in 1983. (And I just know you were more "Tiger Beat" thhan "Rock On"...) Jx

    2. At the tender age of 5, I was indeed trying to rock my best 80s look... And Tiger Beat indeed, he-he...

  3. I used to make my own mix tapes to play in the car. I do have an old Walkman but more interestingly I have a Watchman! The portable T.V. that I used to watch my soap while at school or work.

    I live in a town where old Navy men retire and donate their collections to thrift stores, I find an amazing amount of records in mint condition. I pay the .99 cents and take them home and record them into mp3 format. Once again the Retro Cocktail Hour has educated me on the artists to look for. Thanks Darrell Brogdon!

    1. I never had a "Watchman" - but until recently I had a sort-of-portable TV-cum-radio-cum-tape-recorder thingy, which, not content with already being well past its prime, finally became totally obsolete when the UK went digital. So I binned it.

      As for collectible vinyl, we have made it a bit of an on-off obsession over the years, too - although we do own a vinyl-to-MP3 converter it currently languishes on top of a wardrobe as we don't have the space for it. Some classics of our collection have made it onto CD, but much more still languishes on shelves waiting to be converted. The covers alone do make them worth keeping, though (stuff like Marlene in Berlin, Noel Coward and Joan Sutherland duets, Ruth Wallis, Beryl Reid, Nancy Walker - the list is endless).

      Ah, the world of Vintage Retro music... Jx

  4. i never had one, but still have a ton of cassettes. still have zillions of albums.
    i've had them so long, i don't even know why i have them.

    1. It happens so often to me - I go on a fruitless search across the interwebs for a song I want to hear, forgetting all along that I have it in my collection (OK, maybe out of reach if on cassette or vinyl, but still there). That's why we keep them. Jx


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