Thanks to the digital era, these days people can access a massive array of music libraries instantly. But it wasn’t always this easy. The way people have consumed songs has changed as much as the genres and the styles, from the phonograph to the jukebox, eight-tracks to cassette tapes, CDs to MP3s, and from there to up the cloud. And now, because music consumption has been increasingly instantaneous, a throwback to vinyl records has resurged in the music industry. Most recently, Sony’s sne music division announced it will begin pressing vinyl records again, nearly 30 years after it spun its last platter.
Taking vinyl records’ vintage nostalgic appeal and making it an artisanal product is a bit of a reverse renaissance, but it’s working. Now you can find records on the shelves at Urban Outfitters, Target and Best Buy, perhaps making it more of a commodity than ever. And as a result, vinyl sales were $430 million in 2016, up 4% higher than the previous year, accounting for 26% of all physical music sold, and reaching its highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA.
Similar to records, cassette tapes have also gotten a new leash on life. Cassette album sales grew 74% year-over-year in 2016, according to Billboard. Each year, Cassette Store Day is dedicated to the format to celebrate its potential and its successes. This year, it falls on Oct. 14.
They say rock ‘n roll will never die, and neither will all the other categories of song. Likewise—if retro trends like the vinyl revival keep popping up—perhaps we may even see a rebirth for these classic music listening devices.