Cassette sales in the UK have reached their highest level since 2003, following 10 consecutive years of growth.
In data analysed by the British Phonographic Institution (BPI), sales grew by 5.2% in 2022, with the most popular cassettes sold were The Arctic Monkeys’ ‘The Car’ and ‘Harry’s House’ by Harry Styles.
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Commenting on the format’s remarkable growth, Sophie Jones, the BPI Chief Strategy Officer and CEO said: “For many of us growing up, cassettes were a rite of passage as we listened to our favourite artists.
“So it’s heartening that this once much-loved format is back in vogue, even if still a tiny part of music consumption overall. Like vinyl, a number of contemporary artists are warmly embracing the cassette as another way to reach audiences and on occasions it has even helped them to achieve a No. 1 album,” she continued.
“While streaming is by far the leading format, the renewed popularity of cassettes and vinyl highlights the continuing importance of the physical market and the many ways fans have to consume music.”
The growth of sales comes amid a resurgence in popularity of physical music formats. Vinyl sales have continued to increase in popularity, overtaking Playstation games, DVDs and CDs as the second most popular form of physical entertainment in the UK last year.
Drew Hill, MD of Proper Music Group and VP Distribution at Utopia Music said: “While cassettes comprise only a small percentage of the UK album market, the format’s continuous growth over the last decade speaks to the ongoing fan demand for a myriad of ways to listen, collect and vale music.
“We reside in a golden era of choice, where music fans are looking to labels and artists to offer a broad spectrum of physical options to complement digital streaming.”
Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins