A Nielsen Music study showed that cassette album sales are undergoing a revival, as 55,000 more tapes were sold in 2016 than in 2015.
A piece on Billboard attributes the cassette’s rise to the increase in specialty releases of mainstream music. As we noted in a list of major label cassette issues, Justin Bieber’s Purpose and The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness are albums that came out on tape for the first time in 2016. Meanwhile, popular artists such as Eminem and Blink 182 are reissuing their most classic albums from the mid-’90s on the medium. In the underground, a number of cassette-only record labels have launched in Germany, the UK, eastern Europe and beyond, and interest even warranted the inauguration of the Record Store Day spinoff Cassette Store Day.
The vinyl renaissance proved that many audiophiles still seek out physical forms of music in the digital age, and though it remains to be seen whether or not cassettes will meet the same demand, the format is clearly meeting a burgeoning need for a broad cross-section of music fans.