Beneath the surveillance of SoundScan and the Official Charts Company and beyond the grasp of those who know of avant-gardes only from schoolbooks and museum tours, the cassette subculture continues to build without need of outside approval. In order to get a sense of recent developments, I gathered a number of news items from the first quarter of 2013 featuring recently launched labels, a handful of new releases and "cassettes are making a comeback" coverage from scattered locales.
For those still wondering why anyone would release music on cassette, key points of discussion focus on the ability to put out a very limited run of physical releases for a small price with quick turnaround. Tangibility and unique art, which are now commonly accepted explanations for resurgence of vinyl, seem to be important elements. Multiple commenters on this post had interesting things to say about sound quality.
The importance of having a space for musical experimentation is clearly a factor as well though, since my initial introduction via noise and drone labels, I'm finding that the phenomenon crosses genres.
Note: Cassette labels often put out simultaneous digital editions and many release vinyl and even CDs.
The following news item offer one way of getting a sense of the breadth and depth of activity based largely on what Google's algorithms chose to reveal. They should in no way be taken as exhaustive.
2013 Cassette Label & Series Launches
Fallow Records Launches With Cassettes By Be Honest And JG/BC ft. Fallow Field of Dublin, Ireland
Cassette Labels That Launched in 2012
Local musician turns record label fantasy into reality ft. Doctor Gone Records of Carolina Beach, NC
A Handful of New Releases on Cassette
Tape it or leave it: Considering the cassette release ft. Chicagoan Whitney Johnson's latest Matchess release
Media Coverage ft. Cassette Labels
Rewind: Cassettes are back in vogue — at least for some ft. Analogue Media of Nuns' Island, Quebec whose services include cassette duplication
Cassette Label Tricot Records Builds a Microscene in College Park ft. Tricot Records of College Park, Maryland
Constellation Tatsu micro-label's cassette and VHS releases ft. Constellation Tatsu of San Luis Obispo, CA
DiggUp Tapes issues its music on cassette, and that's no joke ft. Raleigh, NC's DiggUp Tapes
Building a bigger Burger Records at the Burgerama festival ft. Burger Records of Fullerton, CA
[Thumbnail image of Jonwayne's Cassette 2 cassette-only release on Stones Throw.]
- Why Cassette Labels Are More Important Than Many Can Understand
- 15 Best Cassette Releases Of 2012
- Is A Cassette Tape Release In Your Future?
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.