From the mid-1980s to early 1990s the Musicassette, a miniaturised analog magnetic tape medium, was the dominant recorded music format with UK sales of over 0.25 million per annum. But the growth of the new format CD, digital audio on an optical disc, was finally beginning to eat away at the cassette market share.
While cassette sales have continued in some markets, by 2023, we find a big resurgence from that seemingly terminal 2012 decline to just 4,000 units. By 2020 Musicassette was back, up to 160,000, and almost 200,000 by 2022.
Rock and pop dominates with Harry Styles, Florence and the Machine and Arctic Monkeys topping the listings. It seems that listeners value a wider choice of formats and music players including those ubiquitous boom boxes beloved by rappers.
Despite a modest shortfall on fidelity the compact cassette remains credible for its durability and small size compared with CD and vinyl. And home mixtapes may yet see a revival.