Hi! Welcome back to the next instalment of “musings on music formats”.
Although we're a wedding band based in Sussex, we travel all over the country for performances and all that travel time gives us the chance to get our music nerd on!
So this time, we bring to you our musings on Cassettes (thought about long and hard on a recent, particularly long gig journey!). Does anybody still use them? Aren’t they resigned to an endless life of yard sales and charity shops? Were they ever any good?
Before we answer these pressing questions here is a quick history. The cassette tape or Compact Cassette was first released in 1962 by Phillips and by 1968 the first car cassette player was made. However it was during the 1970’s and 80’s when cassettes had their hey-day, being the main format for listening to recorded music. Sadly by the 90’s, CD’s had stolen the show and the humble cassette looked like it was on a decline certain to be fatal. Check the picture of some cassette tapes below if you’ve forgotten what they look like…
It might be a surprise then that cassettes (like vinyl) are on the up, although by no means to the same extent. But why are they coming back? They don’t have the beauty of vinyl nor the convenience of CD’s. The sound quality is definitely inferior to every other format-as the tape ages it deteriorates causing warbles, pitch bending and hiss. However, we believe that this is part of the reason for their new found popularity. Compared to a clean cut digital track, the analogue sound and all its imperfections make tapes sound real, natural and more human. Another cool thing about cassettes is that you can open them up, take the screws out and cut and edit the tape. Check out this cool video below of someone making a loop out of a cassette tape!
The other major advantage cassettes have is that they are so cheap! Bands like Alvvays, Blossoms, Circa Waves and the inimitable Canadian solo artist Mac Demarco all have their music on tapes for as little as £5. Which is much cheaper than both CD’s and vinyl! You can easily record on to them at home to create lo-fi band demos or 90’s-esque mixtapes. Some will say it’s just another hipster fad however if used alongside other formats I think they have a place and some great character with that!
For proof they’re coming back check out this insightful video into a cassette tape pressing factory.
Next month we’ll take a short break where we complete the final instalment of 11 Questions we ask everyone (in the band)!
We look forward to seeing you at a show soon, but in the meantime, please don't hestitate to get in contact to book 8 ball for your wedding or event or give us a call on 0845 094 1911.