There is an unlikely comeback in the music business. This is not about a band, or a singer, but about how a growing number of people are listening to music. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report.
This is not archival video from the 1990s. Blank audiocassette tapes are being manufactured now, at Brooklyn's National Recording Supplies.
“We've seen independent record labels, artisans, hipsters, home audiophiles that just love the format," says Domenick Salvatore, President of National Recording Supplies.
Salvatore and his brother Michael started the business in 1992. At the time, people were still listening to music on cassettes, a more portable format than traditional vinyl records.
The company carved out a niche making blank tapes that record labels would turn into promotional cassettes containing the new music of top artists.
“We were manufacturing close to 5 to 6 million cassettes a year. We were making about close to half a million per month, and running the machines 24-7," Salvatore said.
Soon, digital formats like CDs took over and the cassette started to disappear. Salvatore's company went with the flow, distributing CDs, but it kept some of these cassette machines around.
It paid off when a small cassette tape revival began around five years ago . Now the company is pumping out about 50 thousand a month and still growing.
The sound quality of CDs and vinyl remains superior. But the cassette comeback has nothing to do with audio. It's all about retro cool.
"This new generation, it's a new format to them. They've never seen it before. So it's exciting," Salvatore said.
National Recording Supplies used to have eight of these machines, now it is down to three. In addition, the company that makes them isn't even around anymore. But somehow they find a way to keep them running.
"We're still able to get the parts for them and there's nothing that scotch tape and rubber bands can't fix nowadays anyway. So we keep them going, we keep them going," Salvatore said.
So it's good to know that the same place that made your favorite cassingle 20 years ago is introducing the tape to a new generation of music lovers.