Cassette Store Day is the Dumbest Thing Ever
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.
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.