Cassette Store Day took place over the weekend on September 7th with events taking place internationally. Bands played and I assume cassettes were sold. But, more importantly, community was built and a surprising amount of media coverage occurred. Cassette Store Day is an excellent example of successfully creating a special day involving widespread participants and raising awareness of a musical subculture.
By most measures Saturday's Cassette Store Day was a solid and relatively huge success for the cassette movement. I haven't heard any sales figures but that's not what Cassette Store Day was primarily meant to encourage.
Coverage of Record Store Day and of vinyl, more generally, often focuses on sales of a revived format. But Record Store Day is also a community event and that's the current emphasis of Cassette Store Day.
What's a Cassette Store?
Steve Rose came up with the idea of Cassette Store Day and explained that:
"We just adapted the name from Record Store Day. When you go in to a record store they generally tend to sell a wide variety of things from CDs to merch to books to cassettes, if we're being fastidious about this. Really, we kept the store part as we wanted the day to be more about shops and less about online."
What Happened On Cassette Store Day?
A lot of events were announced for Cassette Store Day.
London's Rough Trade East had live music.
Chicago's Bric-A-Brac Records planned an all day event including live music and a partnering audio equipment supplier for those who need tape players.
Multiple record cassette stores in Portland participated including a cassette fair and tape swap at Record Room.
Brooklyn's Silent Barn hosted the NYC Cassette Fair.
Quick reports so far have been positive and I'll be keeping an eye on what comes out. But beyond building a sense of community, Cassette Store Day's biggest success seems to be in bringing widespread media attention to the cassette resurgence.
Cassette Store Day Garners Media Visibility
An important aspect of events like Cassette Store Day is raising visibility beyond the things that happen that day. In addition to coverage that occurred back when Cassette Store Day was announced, a wide range of news appeared on the web over the last week.
The creation of a special event allowed the media to take absolutely any angle they wanted and, in the process, spread the word of the cassette revival.
FOX Business: Cassette Tapes at 50: Alive and Kicking?
Los Angeles Magazine: 50 Crazy Weird Cassette Tapes to Celebrate National Cassette Store Day
The Guardian: Total rewind: 10 key moments in the life of the cassette
This is truly impressive coverage for an event many would simply dismiss out of hand.
The Power of a Special Day
Cassette Store Day not only celebrated cassettes but also gave yet another example of how powerful such a move can be. Creating a special day for events and celebration allows a wide range of people to reveal their support and participate in local manifestations while giving a hook that encourages media coverage.
Special days are a great way to raise awareness and shift the conversation to another level especially if the theme relates to actual communities of people.
[Thumbnail from Stones Throw's Cassette Store Day activities.]
- International Cassette Store Day Announced, Cassette Documentary Trailer Released
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.