Cassette Store Day is the Dumbest Thing Ever

Categories: Hipsters, Holidaze

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Record Store Day is quite possibly one of the greatest things young music fans have ever come up with. Every third Saturday in April, music fans around the world flock to real deal music stores and purchase sweet, beautiful vinyl records from all of their favorite musicians. There are exclusives, reissues, special releases, and there are just old marked down records for fans to cherish. It's like Christmas, but for music nerds.

Somewhere along the way, though, we fucked up. Fans lost track of the fact that Record Store Day was invented for two reasons: records are awesome - well preserved vinyl sounds marginally better than digital recordings - and independent music stores need our support to stay in business due to competition from major retailers and online markets.

From that fuck up, somebody decided that what the real point of Record Store Day -- what the point of the whole "vinyl revival" was -- was to celebrate the kitschy pleasure of owning antiquated technology, i.e. they turned it into hipster bullshit. Enter Cassette Store Day, the dumbest thing ever.

Here's the deal: September 7th is the first annual Cassette Store Day to celebrate the revival of cassettes as a media format by, well, hipsters. Big name indie bands like Animal Collective, At the Drive-In, Guided by Voices, and the Flaming Lips are participating and releasing special editions of their albums on cassette.

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The problem with this is that cassette tapes are garbage, plain and simple. Maybe it's the fact that many young hipster music geeks were born in 1995, and they just don't remember what it was like to deal with these things, but I remember, and it sucked.

Why were cassettes a thing to begin with? We had vinyl, we had CDs, so what was the point? The point was that they were a budget-priced alternative which you could play in your car, when most cars didn't come with built-in CD players, and an iPod was years away. They were quick, convenient, and easy. Plus, you could use them to tape songs off the radio, or to make mixtapes for your friends and family.

The trade-off was that cassettes sounded like shit. For every joke that's ever been made about scratched, dirty records that hiss, pop, and skip, cassette tapes were a hundred times worse. The sound quality inherently sucked, no matter what sound system you were using, and it was even worse when you had recordings off the radio, which are poor quality, even before being copied to a tape.

Audio quality was not our concern though. Convenience was. Well, guess what? In 2013, cassettes are now actually less convenient. Most cars are no longer even built with tape players. For convenience's sake, we have CDs. We have iPods. We have iPhones. We have iPads. We have fucking Zunes. Cassettes are actually an oxymoron. They're a modern convenience that is now more inconvenient than any other format.

This cassette tape rant continues on the next page.


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30 comments
ahabproductions
ahabproductions

I can't wait until people like you are too old to be taken seriously. A cassette can mean the difference between a meal and hunger for a touring band. Sit down and shut up.

ahabproductions
ahabproductions

.....and thinking something is "stupid" doesn't make it a viable article.

onetimeposter
onetimeposter

My old cassettes from 20 years ago still have a fuller sound than the digital tin of my idevices. It's warm analog.

BrianE
BrianE

Cassettes and vinyl are both analog and while cassettes are not as stable as vinyl, they still preserve a certain warmth that is lost in the age of digital media. I'm from Dallas and we have a version of this same publication here and the writers for it are also complete morons..

curtus
curtus

I'm an audio engineer by trade. Tapes sound great because of something called "saturation." It happens when recorded material gets loud. Vinyl and CDs don't do this. Yes, there's hiss. But if the music's loud enough you don't hear it. I prefer tape to all other formats. Most well informed engineers would agree.

cassettefun
cassettefun

I would write a whole comeback to this unbelievable ill-informed article, but you probably wouldn't get it anyway.

Stuart50
Stuart50

I'm in the minority I know but I have cassettes I recorded 25 years ago and they still play. The sound has degraded on those tapes that I played often but some of the music recorded on them you can't find anywhere else. Nobody plays the good old songs from the late 50's and early 60's any more so I'll be content to listen to them on my pre-Jack-FM CBS-FM cassettes.

raisedbygypsies
raisedbygypsies

You really shouldn't even have bothered writing about Cassette Store Day if you didn't get it.  I don't know the first thing about Kiefer Sutherland, hence I am not penning his biography.   Perhaps you should stick to what you know, though based on your other so-called articles there is little that you do know.

Also, there is the whole concept of "If you have nothing nice to say..."   Why not have someone write about this who, you know, actually understands cassettes?

raisedbygypsies
raisedbygypsies

You really shouldn't even have bothered writing about Cassette Store Day if you didn't get it.  I don't know the first thing about Kiefer Sutherland, hence I am not penning his biography.   Perhaps you should stick to what you know, though based on your other so-called articles there is little that you do know.

Also, there is the whole concept of "If you have nothing nice to say..."   Why not have someone write about this who, you know, actually understands cassettes?

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

I can think of 1000 things that are dumber. 

Kenneth Rex Nabours III
Kenneth Rex Nabours III

I don't get the hate. The idea of Cassette Store Day is a little ridiculous and cassettes themselves are a shitty format but if it gets people out to record stores I don't see what the problem is. I guess something something the hipsters but that word is thrown around so often it has lost most of its power.

lwlamb
lwlamb

I only really used cassettes to make copies of my vinyl to play in the car.  Otherwise, they sucked. I was very happy when I installed a CD changer in my car in 1991.

Joshua Macala
Joshua Macala

I would try to explain to you why this is the dumbest article ever written, but I've never actually read anything good by the author so why waste my time.

hornbuckle
hornbuckle

This article is indeed the dumbest thing ever. I tried to ignore it, but it kept annoying me over the past couple days. Too bad the author couldn't even manage to do two seconds of research before publishing this poorly-written diatribe.

Cassettes have been around much longer than CDs; that's why they "were a thing." When CDs were introduced in the early '80s, we were all convinced that they sounded better than any other previous format. But if you listen to a professionally dubbed cassette on a decent deck with a decent stereo system, you probably won't be able to tell the difference between it and a CD or LP. These days most people are listening to music through crappy iPod earbuds or laptop speakers, anyway, so it's not as if the average listener cares about the highest fidelity.

I'll agree that Cassette Store Day is dumb but not because of the format. It's dumb because it makes the recent cassette resurgence into a novelty by creating unnecessary reissues of big-name artists on a "cool" format. Do we really need yet another reissue of Relationship of Command? No, especially since it's not even ATDI's best album. Past and present cassette culture is for people who still give a shit about non-mainstream music and embrace tangible formats. Cassettes, while perhaps no longer a necessity for every small artist, are still cheap—both for the artist and the consumer. An artist with a small audience can afford a small run of cassettes more easily than having LPs or CDs pressed. And as much as I want to buy them all, it's hard to justify dropping $30 on every awesome 180 gram LP that comes out, especially in the current economy.

I can appreciate the fact that the author still has the first cassette he purchased. But perhaps rather than thinking of it as an artifact, he should appreciate the fact that it's a format that has managed to survive for 50 years despite people continuing to write it off. If you just wanted to say that Cassette Store Day is dumb, focus on the event itself rather than the format. Cassettes will continue on as a format with or without it.

steppesmusic
steppesmusic

To my knowledge, the cassette player in my 15-year old car has never been used -- even once.  It's a terrible music format for terrible ears and terrible personal taste.  Anyone clinging to this format clearly isn't interested in hearing their favorite music to its fullest potential.

Yeah, my Tascam 424 was fun for a while too, but then I bought REAL recording equipment -- and let's not compare a well-maintained Ampex/Studer 2-track 1/4" to a cassette tape, shall we?  It's not the same thing, and it's not "lo-fi", unless you don't know how to take care of it.

Cassettes are most definitely trivializing vinyl, which is a superior music delivery format to all others.  This article is spot on.

cathy.nolan
cathy.nolan

I agree that casette tapes are shitty, but personally I still use tapes. This is because I can go to the local Salvation Army, Goowill, or some such place, and buy some really awesome music 3 tapes for a dollar.

ryanlhunt
ryanlhunt

Wow... this article is The Dumbest Thing ever... i know it's hard to believe, but some of us like the aesthetic of tape... I love when it bends and warps..I love lo-fi.... I home-recorded on cassette for 20 years until I started using 1/4" which is just a bigger version.....i find mixtapes tend to be better than mix cds, because the person actually has to sit there and make it, rather than just dump a bunch of crap on disc.... i own an ipod and it hasn't been used in over 2 years...

ryanlhunt
ryanlhunt

wow what a dipshit... there was a time before cds, you were obviously born in 1995... i have a cassette deck in my car.  I record on cassette, and have been a fan since they were the only option other than vinyl.  I have always loved tape, I like the way it sounds, i like mix tapes etc...

Kelly Switzer
Kelly Switzer

Some of us drive old cars with working cassette decks, elitist jackass.

Chris Friedrich
Chris Friedrich

Can this publication please go back to informing the reader about music instead of finding new ways to be aloof and disinterested?

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Yeah, but no. I didn't like cassettes when they were "cutting edge," and I was no fan of vinyl. Nostalgia is racket.

ad77777
ad77777

y'all are so out of touch, do you know what it is like to be a poor 18-22 year old with an old ass car? tapes are like 20 cents. and yes, you can find some awesome rare shit.

claymonster
claymonster

I didn't realize Vespas came with cassette players. But more power to the adorable bearded, jorts-wearing scamps. I can't wait to drive by the next wave of 'eaten tape tumbleweeds' on the roads... ah, the old days.

Optimo Ram
Optimo Ram

aww man i just left the cassette store. got a bunch of cassettes. then i went to the butcher and the 5 n Dime

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