Cassette sales on Discogs have continued to grow steadily at quite a rapid pace over the past few years. On top of that, the Discogs community has added over 50,000 new submissions to Discogs Database in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Due to the often short runs produced and (and the fact that the music might not be available on any other format), some cassettes can be worth a substantial amount of money. The most expensive cassette sold in 2019 was a boxset, Untieddiaries 1979-87, by various artists. This deluxe collection features the complete United Diaries (a British experimental rock and electronica label) catalog and related items. Only 50 were ever made. The past three times this set has come up for sale, it has sold for over $2,000 — a true collector’s item!
On our list of the most expensive cassettes sold in 2019, we are seeing releases from underground artists across many genres. Rap releases once again holds very strong positions all through the top 100, with releases such as MC Jake’s EP, Onyx co-founder BIG DS’s solo release, and California duo D.O.A‘s premier album all commanding over $500 apiece!
There is also a trend in Japanese releases, such as Tatsuro Yamashita and Haruomi Hosono. This may be due to the resurgence in popularity of city pop, a Japanese genre that was very popular in the late-1970s to mid-1980s. It could also be attributed to the seemingly nonstop rise in popularity of vaporwave, like this one on the charts.
While cassettes make up just under 5% of the total media sales on Discogs, you can be assured that the format is still alive and well. There were more than 200,000 cassettes sold in 2019, which shows there is still a strong love worldwide for a format that is often looked down on.
Long live the humble cassette!