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Mixed Tapes Are Trending As Cassettes Make a Comeback

Can cassettes make a comeback this year? It's looking that way, according to new reports from Japan. Cassette tapes are starting get that vinyl record love. So much so, one manufacturer in Japan is bringing back personal Walkman-type players, according to newser.com. What? "Younger Japanese music lovers are driving this trend,"  Nikkei Asia writes, "despite many being born well after tapes were eclipsed by CDs, and later digital music." Why do people want cassettes? "A cassette tape is for when I want to listen to music carefully," said a 21-year-old male university student from Kanagawa prefecture who visits the Tower Records Shibuya store in Tokyo once a week to search for cassettes. Although he also listens to music via streaming, he has about 20 cassettes he started collecting in high school and speaks highly of their warm, unique sound." It's also happening in the UK and the US, according to Forbes.com. In the US, Forbes reported, "sales of cassette albums rose 20% to 440,000 in 2022, up more than 100,000 from the previous year. Along with the sound quality, nostalgia, and the more purposeful focus that comes with listening to analog music, some observe that purchasing a tangible object makes a difference to the streaming generation." But they aren't all they're cracked to be. Take it from the people who lived through using a pencil to fix one. Ah, the joy of creating a 60-minute love letter for your crush. But let’s be real, those things were both fun and problematic. It's 1989, you’re walking down the street, jamming to Madonna on your Sony Walkman, then bam! Your tape gets stuck. Nightmare. No rewind is going to fix it. And let’s talk about sound quality. We loved the nostalgia of that analog sound, but it wasn’t exactly crystal clear. Sometimes, it sounded like your favorite song was playing underwater. Not exactly the auditory experience we were hoping for. Yet, here’s something undeniably charming about cassette tapes. The mixtapes, the DIY covers, the handwritten track lists – they all added a personal touch that streaming just can’t replicate. Plus, there was a certain thrill to hitting rewind and fast-forward to find your favorite track. So yeah, mixed cassette tapes were a blast, even if they had their fair share of issues. But isn't that what nostalgia is? Remembering old times - even though they weren't perfect.

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