Cassette tapes see resurgence as sales nearly double

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(NewsNation) — Nostalgia strikes again as cassette tapes, the 1980s technology that was popular with Walkman-wearing audiophiles, are back in vogue.

Sales of cassettes nearly doubled from 173,000 in 2020 to 343,000 in 2021, according to entertainment data tracker Luminate. With year-to-date sales of 215,000, the trend seems to be continuing in 2022.

“It’s a cool format,” said Mike Stutz, co-owner of The Current Year in Parma, Ohio. “People just like it because it’s nostalgic. They’re just great to hold. They look good and they also sound good, which is something that I think a lot of people have forgotten.”

The renewed interest in the retro medium comes despite popular streaming services offering seemingly endless catalogs of music and the convenience of digital downloads.

“People are bringing in their old decks and getting them fixed,” Stutz said. “There are a few companies that are putting tape decks back into production now. But if you look on eBay, I mean everybody wants Sony Walkmans and all those vintage decks are pretty collectible.”

The increase in cassette tape sales comes on the heels of a resurgence of another retro form of music: vinyl.

Vinyl’s momentum is continuing strong, hitting a landmark last year that exceeded 1 billion in sales for the first time since 1986, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

“There was a time in the early 90s, where kids of a certain age that was like the total rage.” Stutz said. Now, “A lot of our customers who come in and are into tapes, were not even born in the 80s.”

Watch the full interview with Mike Stutz in the video player at the top of the page.

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