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This Half-Century Old Audio Format Is Back from the Dead. Here's Why.

The Gear Patrol Podcast Episode Sixteen – Listen Now

tucker bowe
Gear Patrol

The Gear Patrol Podcast is our weekly roundtable discussion focused on products, their stories, and the culture surrounding them.


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In this episode, we discuss the renewed popularity of cassette tapes. Cassettes–those plastic cartridges you sometimes rewound with a pencil eraser–were eventually overcome by the popularity of CDs in the mid '90s. But maybe you've noticed, and possibly been confused by, the recent Cassette Renaissance. It's not just indie bands driving the surge, either. Even megastars like Taylor Swift are launching their albums on cassettes.

Cassettes are officially back.

But why is an outmoded media format surging into the mainstream again? And furthermore, how would you even go about playing a tape these days? Senior Staff Writer Tucker Bowe answers those questions and more. Tucker recently did a deep-dive into researching the Cassette Boom for a story in the latest Gear Patrol Magazine issue, and there's a lot more to the movement that nostalgia alone.

Show Notes:

Episode Navigation:

  • 01:40 – Why are Cassette Tapes Making a Comeback?
  • 04:00 – Cassette Audio Quality Is Different Than You Might Recall
  • 05:45 – Memories of Cassette Tapes (and CDs) Are Powerful
  • 08:45 – The Last Car With a Tape Deck, and Tapes in Current Pop Culture
  • 10:45 – Current Artists Are Selling New Cassettes
  • 12:00 – The Cassette Boom, by the Numbers
  • 13:48 – Where Are We Supposed to Play Cassettes?
  • 17:16 – Will Companies Make New Tape Decks?
  • 18:25 – Companies Making New, High-Quality Cassette Tapes
  • 20:00 – Where Do We Go Now (from MP3s)?
  • 22:55 – Predictions: Will This Cassette Tape Trend Continue?
  • 24:35 – Tucker's Advice for Aspiring Cassette Tape Collectors

    Featured:

    Classic Cassette Tapes Are Making a Comeback

    Gear Patrol Magazine – Get an Annual Subscription for Just $39

    Check out the Just Cassette blog and Instagram Profile

    From Forbes – The Walkman And Cassette Tapes Are Making A Comeback

    Buy New Cassette Players from Urban Outfitters ($30+)

    Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 ($10)

    Taylor Swift Evermore Album Deluxe Cassette ($13)

    The Gear Patrol Podcast is our weekly roundtable discussion focused on products, their stories, and the culture surrounding them.


    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Reach out at podcast@gearpatrol.com.

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