I saw a new release of Superfuzz Bigmuff by Mudhoney today in Rough Trade. £7:99 and a nice yellow cassette (Sub Pop). Tempted but nope to the sale. Are they really coming back?
It always was the worst format. A retro sales point is just a cash in surely. Even as a kid buying Kings Of The Wild Frontier I knew I HAD to buy the vinyl and tape it myself when both formats were the same price in WH Smiths.
It’s a terrible format but SubPop seem to have decided to do a run of coloured cassette versions. Like they’ve reissued all the Hot Snakes albums on coloured vinyl and there’s a corresponding coloured tape.
I can SORT of see where they’re going here. I mean for most of us we just listen to the digital stream (which you get with the tape or vinyl) so really you’re mainly buying a physical thing as an object of art.
On that basis a cassette is smaller and more portable than a record and I guess has its own mystique now as an out of date piece of tech?
Fuck cassettes. Fuck them to hell. I’ve had this argument (on old dis?) before with some cassette defenders but Fuck me no. No. No. I love my vinyl, I love my record player but cassettes (commercial normal cassettes played on normal cassette players) sound like utter balls. I was reliably informed in previous arguments that there ARE cassette players and cassettes that under certain very specific circumstances don’t sound like balls but I grew up in the eighties and I never heard them.
if they sold cassettes really super cheap i’d probably buy em sometimes. occasionally for some weird reason i feel almost suckered into them looking a bit cool (i don’t know why i sometimes think they do as they definitely don’t, i guess it’s the novelty of not using them since i was about 10). sometimes the artwork is completely fucked on conversion to cassette shape though and looks awful. but cassette editions of widely available albums also released on CD and vinyl are basically pointless and invariably cost a lot more than they’re really worth.
for like DIY bands and stuff they’re fine i guess - i’m told they’re incredibly cheap to make but i wouldn’t have thought a run of CDs would cost much more? i reckon stupidly there’s a bit of embarrassment around CDs these days as being too recently out-of date and therefore a bit lame and dad-like, and vinyl is obviously much more costly, so cassettes have become a sort of compromise - superficially possesses the ‘cool’ of vinyl but you have to forget that they’re shit. only useful as a physical token for the mp3 version you’re going to play instead. practically the same as getting a download code with your purchase of a t-shirt or something but reassuringly old fashioned as you know you could play it physically if you ever wanted to, but probably won’t.
all the above is of course silly because CDs are actually the best format and people might eventually find themselves more comfortable with admitting that.
btw i was thinking of starting a format related thread the other day purely to ask, what fucking format is THIS?
from the start of this video:
have noticed it in a couple of early 90s-ish Letterman videos before. is it just some really elaborate kind of CD case they tried out for a while? some other short-lived format? baffles me.
Used to be cheap though and for a lot of people listening to music meant on a Walkman or cheap ghetto blaster or in the car so it made sense.
Now I guess it’s just a novelty but I’ve ended up with a handful and the quality seems fine to me and I have to admit I like having them - pure nostalgia I guess but no harm in it.
never mind, have managed to find out that they were a weird American thing for CDs
Yeah was just an elongated box they used as display for CDs for a while for some releases. Think the top half was just empty so would squash, you didn’t get anything extra in the box. They were around for a while but I don’t recall if it was specific stores or labels.
I was thinking recently maybe CDs should just start using record size covers to try and add value/cache whilst retaining the production and cost advantages.
I remember them in the UK but maybe they were imports.
i’d say one of the disadvantages of vinyl is the bulkiness/massive amount of storage space a large collection requires, so this isn’t something i’d be in favour of.
i think the increased emphasis on digipaks and cardboard sleeves over plastic jewel cases in recent years has been a positive though.
Cassettes are rubbish. Their selling point used to be that you could record whatever you wished to blank cassette, with the advantage that you could play them in the car or on your Walkman. This was before the existence of CDs, which provided the same facility and far better reproduction.
I have over a hundred cassettes sitting on a bookshelf, of which not one is a pre-recorded one. They contain recordings of radio shows in the 1980s; recordings made from vinyl records to save wear and tear on the vinyl; recordings of borrowed LPs. I keep them because there has been no reaon to throw them out. For many years my only copy of The Dark Side of the Moon was on cassette.
Every so often I listen to one. Half the time I discard it afterwards for one of several reasons:
- the quality has deteriorated to the point of no longer providing listening enjoyment;
- I have the music in another format;
- I have lost interest in hearing it yet again.
Wish they’d bring back Minidiscs. They were brilliant
They’ve become just another sort of gimmicky faddy thing that was always going to come back. They are more suited to smaller/DiY bands as they are cheap to press and distribute which is exactly the main reason back in the day too.
I remember the CD longboxes too. Baffling for us in the UK, but I saw some imports over here once.
I joked about 8 tracks coming back (I had a player I got from a car rigged up to some speakers and some Bowie/Pink Floyd) and lo and behold one was released last year.
I think it was pretty much everybody. They were invented to allow CDs to fit side by side in LP racks. Then everyone realised they were a giant waste of money and cardboard, and the shops had to buy in CD-specific racks.
Good podcast episode about them here:
Oh, and cassettes are shit. They were the first music format I relied on, but there has been NO reason for their existence since CD writers and MP3s came along. Shit sound quality, deformed artwork, impossible to select tracks, giant gaps at the end of one side… Cassette hipsters are stupid - They deserve to lose any money they spend on them.
I don’t get it. But if people want to buy them I don’t blame labels for putting them out. Labels sell music, not formats.
may as well bring back Laserdiscs as well while we’re at it.