Low and behold analog enthusiasts… The second annual Cassette Store Day is quickly approaching! On Saturday, September 27th, fans will once again gather at participating shops to celebrate the cassette as a music format. This year, the event will be coordinated from both sides of the Atlantic with Fullerton, California-based Burger Records overseeing efforts in the US, while Kissability and Suplex Cassettes will once again be organizing things in the UK/EU.
In a blog post on NME.com, one of the original founders of Cassette Store Day, BBC Radio 1 DJ / Kissability’s Jen Long, had this to say towards the viability of the format, “Music today moves faster than ever before. We are swamped hourly with new acts, new tracks, and endless free downloads. It becomes addictive, with more and more bands wanting to release their music, and most importantly, more fans than ever wanting to become a part of this world and start a label. However, you can’t sell mp3s from the merch table (and it isn’t the most romantic way of introducing someone to a great band). Plus cassettes are cheap to make and you don’t have to commit to large quantities, unlike vinyl.”
Originally conceived as a way to celebrate the lost format, the first Cassette Store Day, held last September, was met with open arms with stores participating in over eighty cities worldwide and releases from the likes of The Flaming Lips, Haim, At the Drive-In, Deerhunter, and more!
This year’s event looks to expand on 2013’s success while staying focused, “When planning this year we really tried to keep cassette labels and fans at the heart of the event. Last year grew far bigger than we had expected, so we are thrilled to have Burger involved to help us cover the US side,” said Long.
However, according to Billboard, “While CSD 2013 warmed the hearts and ears of listeners both nostalgic for music journalist Rob Sheffield’s ‘Love Is A Mixtape’ era and hopeful for analog’s growing sweet spot in the music industry, it did not inspire strong sales: in the week ending Sept. 8, 2013, cassette albums sold just 1,000 — up 1% compared to the previous week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. To boot, those numbers represent a miniscule 0.02% of the total 289 million music units moved sold in 2013.”
Despite these harrowing numbers, Burger Records is very much looking forward to this year’s festivities and had this to say, “Burger Records loves tapes! We’ve built our foundation on the forgotten format and have been preaching the merits of warm analog cassette culture for years. We’re honored to be ambassadors of Cassette Store Day 2014 in the good ol’ USA! We plan to bring some of our favorite labels to the table and invite everyone to the party and partake in the fun phenomena of releasing top shelf music on cassette tapes in pop culture today!”
Matt Flag of Suplex Cassettes offered this final consideration in the same NME blog post mentioned above:“Today [tapes are] the most affordable showcase for a band that is not ready to spend £1000 to drop 500 7″s into the world, so I can run a label that takes chances and puts out as many releases as I want to due to the cheapness and convenience of the format. Plus they look rad!”
While many in the industry will snicker and others may write off the cassette resurgence to, “F#@&ing Hipsters,” there is something to be said for the DIY spirit and practicality of it all that makes it deserving of support.
Cassette Store Day 2014 takes place on Saturday September 27th. Labels wishing to release a cassette on the day can sign up for a small admin fee of $10/£10 from June 30th – August 15th at cassettestoreday.com. Stores wishing to participate can sign up for free on the site. A full guide to assist labels and stores is also available for download.
Looking forward to pulling out my old Walkman!
 ^Long, Jen (12 July 2013). “Why We’ve Created Cassette Store Day (And Why It’s Not Just Hipster Nonsense)”. NME.