The way we consume music has changed drastically in the last couple of few years. My first memory of listening to music was back in elementary school. I only had one album, it was the D3: The Mighty Ducks soundtrack. I loved that movie so much that I had to buy the cassette tape (I didn’t get a CD player until a few years later). I listened to that tape over and over again. My favorite song was Grade 9, which I didn’t know until I was prepping for this article, that it was by the Barenaked Ladies. If I had known that back in the day I’m sure my 11 year old self would have had a good laugh about it 🙂 .
Back when I was a kid I was always broke and music wasn’t cheap (to me). So I didn’t buy much and when I did I would listen to it over and over again. I would get so I knew all the words to every song, I would read the liner notes and really get into it. I don’t really do that anymore. Now we have subscription music services where for the price of a single CD you can listen to anything you want. While that’s amazing for so many reasons it also makes me a bit sad. I don’t feel as connected to the music anymore. I’m not saying these services are bad, in many ways they are super awesome, but I still feel like we’ve lost something.
That is why when I heard about these little indie labels who were bringing back cassettes I got really excited. Not only does it allow me to experience something physical, something retro, but I could experience music like I use to. Cassettes might be more expensive and less convenient than digital music but they are also so much fun. Sometimes I like to order five random tapes and see what happens. The music I get is sometimes crazy awesome and often terrible but always a lot of fun.
I also like supporting these small labels/artists. I have a real respect for people who are passionate about something and pursue that passion. Neither the artists or labels are making much on these cassettes, they are doing it because they love it. Not only do they create interesting music but they also put out some gorgeous tapes. You’d be surprised how much effort they put into the packaging. Sometimes I’ll buy a tape just because it looks so damn cool.
One column I’m going to start doing on a regular basis is reviews of the tapes I buy. I come across some really neat labels/artists and I want to share them with you. All these artists sell digital versions of their music so you don’t have to embrace the cassette culture to get into the indie music scene but I want you to keep an open mind about getting the cassette version. You don’t have much to lose. You can get a cheap portable tape player for a few bucks at a thrift store and these tapes only cost $5. Try something new and I think you’d be surprised how much fun you have.
Here’s a preview of the first artist/tape I’m reviewing later this week:
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