Every month we give someone the chance to get something off their chest. This month: BLM News Editor Christian Northwood talks Cassette Store Day.
Keeping Labels Alive
I’m sure a lot of people see Cassette Store Day, and cassettes in general, as a bit of a novelty. A low quality, outdated way to consume music for retro fetishists. But for me, and many others, cassettes have slowly become the lifeblood of many DIY labels.
Whilst the vinyl rebirth has done wonders for the music industry, the last few years have seen major labels muscle in on the trend, and in doing so, made it harder for emerging artists or labels to sell physical releases. With vinyl pressing plants so few and far between, and an obscene amount of vinyl getting repressed (like really, do we need more Pink Floyd vinyl on this fragile earth?), getting a small 7” run made is becoming an impossibility. Not only will it set you back hundreds of pounds, it can also take three months to get it pressed, even more if your batch gets bumped down the pecking order by a major release.
Cassettes have therefore presented themselves as an alternative; able to satisfy consumers’ want for a physical object, yet can be created at home cheaply. Cassette label Sports Day Records-owner, Theo Lloyd-Hughes, was overwhelmed to find there was a community of like-minded people out there when he started the label: “I’ve made friends all over the world and in my own city because they share a love of making, listening to and holding tapes,” he told me. “It’s a real shield of underground music knowledge and appreciation.”
Similarly, Filip Zemčík, of Z-Tapes is thankful for the support he gets. His label is run from Slovakia and brings together artists from all corners of Europe. Filip says simply: “Cassettes are cool, cassettes are unique, cassettes are small, cassettes are cheap.”
Without cassettes, we may never have heard IYESAYA’s depression-tackling bedroom pop or No Dice’s compilation in aid of Trans Awareness. Cassettes currently have the power to open doors to special, unique artists on a format which currently represents the passion, drive and community spirit behind the DIY scene. So, indulge yourself on Cassette Store day; you never know where it might lead.
Cassette Store Day takes place across the country on 8th October. Check out IYESAYA’s ‘Monster’ below.