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Cassette Tape Sales Up 23 Percent In U.S. In 2018
Dust off your Walkman, tapes are a thing again. The latest numbers don't lie, as cassette album sales grew 23 percent in 2018, according to the latest Nielson Music data.
The new report cites cassette releases by Britney Spears, Twenty One Pilots and Guns N' Roses as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy and "Stranger Things" soundtracks as top drivers for the jump. Overall sales tallied up from 178,000 copies in 2017 to 219,000 copies in 2018. While these figures won't make the streaming services lose sleep, they are especially impressive considering tape sales in 2014 were a mere 50,000. For further perspective, consider that at the height of the format, 1994, cassette sales hit 246 million.
Nostalgia is the common thread running through the year's top 10 tape offerings from artists. According to a Billboard report: With the exception of Twenty One Pilots latest album, Trench (No. 3), the reissue of Spears' 1999 debut …Baby One More Time (No. 5), Guns N' Roses' 1987 debut Appetite For Destruction (No. 7), Metallica's The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited (No. 8) from the same year, a newly released Elvis Presley collection Where No One Stands Alone (No. 9) and Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (No. 10), which just turned 25 years old, all represent blasts from the past.
The clear champion of the cassette world in 2018 was Guardians of the Galaxy and its soundtracks, taking the top two spots with Awesome Mix Vol I and Vol. II followed by Cosmic Mix, Vol. 1 (No. 6). A tape of the uber-nostalgic Netflix original series "Stranger Things" soundtrack (No. 4) proves the perfect era-appropriate souvenir for fans.
With hip-hop reigning in streaming, classic rock on top in vinyl, and now soundtracks taking over tapes, will these trends continue in 2019? Since, unlike on your Walkman there's no way to hit fast-forward, we'll have to wait and see.