Why the cassette tape Is still not dead


God of Thunder
Apr 1, 2005
near KC
An interesting read....

Why the Cassette Tape Is Still Not Dead

"...On a mid-January morning in Springfield, Mo., a tractor-trailer backs up to the National Audio Company's loading dock and unloads more than 600,000 empty compact cassette shells from factories in China and Saudi Arabia. The shipment is added to a warehouse inventory of another 10 million or so of the multi-colored, plastic cartridges awaiting tape inside the country's largest cassette manufacturer. About 50 workers, including recording engineers and graphic artists, assemble up to 100,000 preordered tapes a day to satisfy demand for a product that might otherwise seem obsolete. "Most people would probably think there aren't 100,000 cassettes left in the world," National Audio's owner Steve Stepp tells me. "I've got an order of 87,000 going out today."

...Last year, National Audio sold about $5 millions worth of cassettes, a 31 percent increase in sales from the previous year. Seventy percent of the firm's business comes from independent labels and largely unknown bands, but a number of majors are following the trend. Sony, Capitol, Disney, and Universal Music Group all have made orders on behalf of some of their larger clients; National Audio even manufactured a cassette for Justin Bieber last year.

The plant also makes tapes for Nirvana, Keith Richards, Judas Priest, Ice Cube and Weezer, among others. It made 25,000 cassettes for the recent release of a seven-song demo Metallica recorded in 1982, "No Life 'Til Leather." The company's in-house graphics department replicated drummer Lars Ulrich's original handwriting and artwork for the cassette that is now fetching up to $50 on eBay. "We love the majors, and that's where you do your big volume, but we would not be here doing what we're doing if not for the indie band," Stepp says. "Indie bands are responsible for this return...."