Reel music returns as cassette sales top 100,000

Cassette tapes enjoy a retro revival as sales top 100,000 for the first time since 2004

Cassette tapes, which seemed doomed less than a decade ago will be once-again high on wish-lists as artists such as Coldplay and Robbie Williams release new music on the format. 

So far in 2019, sales of cassettes have hit a high since 2004 – when the format‘s decline seemed terminal. 

The introduction of digital downloads threatened the future of CDs and cassettes – which had previously almost wiped out vinyl. 

The British Phonographic Industry believe more than 100,000 cassettes will be sold during 2019 – more than double the figure for 2018. 

Cassette sales were at their height in 1989 when Sony‘s all-conquering Walkman allowed people to enjoy music on the move. 

Figures released in July showed stars  such as Billie Eilish and The 1975 helped sales reach 36,000.  

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In recent years, vinyl sales have made a comeback as consumers appear to yearn for a physical product rather than a digital download. 

The growth in cassettes has also seen retailers such as Tesco and Argos reintroducing cassette players in their stores.   

Commenting on the retro trend, Karen Emanuel, chief executive of Key Production Group who manufactures cassettes, vinyl and CDs, told The Guardian: ‘We never stopped producing them, but demand had tailed off to tapes for police interviews. 

‘It‘s difficult to say exactly how many tapes will be sold this year, but I think it will be more than 100,000. We have probably produced 30,000 to 40,000 but the figures only track those going through the sales system; cassettes are not only being released by big artists but small struggling artists, too.‘  



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