business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There was an intriguing story the other day on National Public Radio's great Marketplace broadcast about the minor resurgence taking place in the world of cassette audio tapes.

According to the story, "some big players are getting into the cassette game. Disney sold about 2,500 copies of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack on tape, according to Nielsen. Then, there are indie labels like Burger Records, which claims to have sold more than 300,000 cassette tapes since 2007." And that does not even count the small and quirky artists who continue to put out cassette recordings that one expert describes as "more weird and creative" because it is a niche business seen as a place to make low-risk gambles.

As an alternative to digital storage and streaming technology, cassettes are seen as being tangible and higher quality than digital. And "that tangibility also has some data geeks are clamoring for these cassettes, as well," Marketplace reports. "That’s because Sony, IBM and other hardware companies have developed tapes that aren’t your grandma’s tapes. They can store about 185 terabytes of data, the equivalent all the printed collected works in the Library of Congress times 18.5."

Now, even cassette enthusiasts concede that this probably is more fad than trend ... but it is interesting to watch as a business segment that seemed relegated to the scrap heap sees a but of a revival.

It is all about defining a differential advantage.

As it always is.

Next thing you know, we'll see a VHS and Betamax tape revival. That'll be an Eye-Opener.
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