Cassette tape sales peak with nearly 200,000 sold in 2022

The surge in sales has reportedly been driven by releases from artists such as Arctic Monkeys and Harry Styles

Cassette tapes

Image: Helena Watson / Getty

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Sales of cassette tapes have reached a 20 year peak, with an annual figure of 195,000 sales for 2022.

Despite the world of music streaming and digital downloads now dominating the way we consume music, physical formats of music have made a triumphant return with a slow climb back to popularity over the last two decades.

Just last year, it was also reported that vinyl records had even out-sold PlayStation games as the UK’s second biggest selling physical format. And now, cassette tapes appear to be climbing towards the top too, though they still have a long way to go.

According to new research from The British Phonographic Industry, sales of cassette tapes have risen for 10 consecutive years, and the surge has been driven by high-selling releases from artists such as Arctic Monkeys’ The Car, Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, and Florence + The Machine’s Dance Fever.

The top 10 cassette sales list also includes releases from Muse, Central Cee, Robbie Williams, Blackpink, and Machine Gun Kelly. In 2012, the total number of cassette sales was just 3,823, which has now jumped into six-figures with 195,000. Sales of vinyl records still remain the champion though, fetching in £80.9 million last year.

Paul Williams, a spokesperson for the British Phonographic Industry, said (via Sky News): “Not long ago, people would have written off the cassette, but I think you have to learn the lessons of the vinyl market which had an incredible revival.

“It’s something at a lower level, but it is happening now with cassettes. There’s this return for people wanting to own music, to go out and buy,” he explained. “What we’ve noticed with the cassette market – the cassettes and the artists that are doing well are artists with real fan bases.”

Find out more at BPI.co.uk.

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