25 albums sold at least 1,000 copies on cassette in 2016, compared to just 8 in 2015, according to Billboard and Nielsen. Overall, cassette album sales were up 74% in 2016.
The top selling cassette album was Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack which sold 4,000 sold each in 2015 and 2016. Since it was released in 2014, it has sold 11,000 copies.
Justin Bieber’s Purpose and The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness each sold nearly 1,000 in 2016, and a reissue of Eminem’s The Slim Shady LP sold 3,00. Prince's Purple Rain sold 2,000 last year.
Are cassettes the new vinyl?
Before you dismiss the trend, remember that as much as 40% of all new vinyl record purchases are a souvenir and never played. Unlike most vinyl releases, cassettes usually come with a download code for fans who don’t own a cassette player.