There are a lot of things in our world that have evolved from analog to digital — including the way we listen to music. Before there were iPods, there were MP3 players; before MP3 players, there were CDs; and before CDs, there were cassette tapes.
Cassette tapes were these plastic rectangles with magnetic tape that you would stick in a walkman for audio recording and playback and occasionally had to rewind manually with a pencil (If you’re a 90s kid, you’d totally get what we’re talking about).
Those days of manual rewinding ended when CDs became the next cool thing. But did cassette tapes really die? It seems not.
We’re sure many can agree that they’ve long forgotten about the manually rewindable music format, but it turns out, thousands of it are still being sold and bought in some parts of the world today.
According to music sales measurement authority Nielsen Music, about 219,000 tapes were sold in the U.S. back in 2018. In the U.K., sales keep increasing even if it only translates to about 36,000 cassettes sold in the first half of this year.
The rise in sales can be attributed to a handful of factors. First, artists like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Billie Eilish have released their music on cassette. Second, there is an underground culture that has been keeping the format alive all these years. Lastly, it’s considered a fashion statement, as is all other nostalgic item from earlier decades.
The question of why seems to be the first thing to come to mind for those just finding out about the cassette tape’s comeback, and rightfully so. In our day and age, it seems silly that the more we push towards a technologically advanced way of life, the more we try to bring back what used to be.
Then again, that’s where the beauty of nostalgia lies. As humans within a world that’s becoming more and more technologically influenced, it shows us that we can never really let go of the simplicities of the past.
If you’re glad about the humble cassette tape’s comeback, you’d be even more glad to know that an event that commemorates this enduring music format is coming to the Philippines mid-October.
Worldwide event Cassette Store Day, which began in the UK back in 2013, celebrates the cassette tape, along with the underground cassette culture that has kept it alive all these years.
The yearly event first came to the Philippines back in 2018 as the country’s first-ever gathering that recognizes the cassette tape’s importance in music production, as wells as the appreciators of its format.
Now, brought to us by United Cassettes (a Philippine-based cassette tape shop) and the Genjitsu Stargazing Society (an arts collective and DIY tape label), Cassette Store Day Philippines is back for another run on October 19, 2019, Saturday from 3 PM to 2 AM at Limbo, Makati.
The theme for this year is “You Can’t Kill Us!” According to organizer Kurvine Chua, the title is a reference to an album by a band called the HIRS Collective defending queer and trans outcasts. The album was released on queer label Get Better Records which released cassette tapes.
One of the goals of the event is to bring like-minded people together and encourage awareness of each other among businesses, collectors, enthusiasts, and musicians.
In addition, this year’s gathering will also fix up a space for the cause “Save San Roque” which is an alliance that advocates for the housing rights of the urban poor community in Sitio San Roque, Quezon City.
The cause aims to help the residents of Sitio San Roque that have faced threats of displacement from the government through slow demolition of their homes.
If you’re a music lover and nostalgia junkie who also has a desire to help people in need, Cassette Store Day Philippines 2019 has got your covered. It’s a space where people can collect, discover, and relive what used to be.
Admission to Cassette Store Day Philippines 2019 is free of charge.
For relevant posts, you may use the official hashtag: #CSDPH2019