EXCITING NEWS: RoosterCow Press has published Chris Auman's new 28-page full-color comic book starring everyone’s favorite cassette tape Cassetty. This beloved cassette character has appeared in zines such as Used Records & Tapes, Reglar Wiglar, and Roctober as well as reglarwiglar.com However, most of the strips included here were redrawn and colorized for this edition.
Whether you were there for the compact cassette tape’s rise to dominance in the ‘70s, were a part of the tape trading culture of the ‘80s, or geek out over the current tape craze, you’ll appreciate the antics of Cassetty. Gen X to Gen Z, with Millennials sandwiched in between, this comic appeals to all.
Inside Cassetty Comics
In this issue, Cassetty leads us to his favorite watering hole where he drowns his sorrows in isopropyl alcohol ("Cassetty Pays a Visit to the Easy Speaker"). He also takes us on a slightly disrespectful tour of his favorite city ("Cassetty Takes Chicago"), Find out what happens when this caustic cassette meets his arch nemesis in a local record store ("Cassetty Meets a CD)." Learn about "Cassetty's Most Humiliating Moments" and let this teacherly tape school you on the formats that didn’t make it in "Dead Formats."
The Cassette Tape Format Arrives
In case you didn't know, a cassette tape is a magnetic tape audio storage medium that was widely used from the 1960s to the early 2000s. It consists of a plastic cassette housing with two spools, and a magnetic tape wound between them. The tape is coated with a thin layer of magnetic material, usually ferric oxide, which stores audio signals in the form of magnetic patterns.
Cassette tapes were commonly used for recording and playing back music, as well as for storing other audio content. They became popular for personal use due to their compact size, portability, and ease of use. Cassette players, or cassette decks, were common in cars, portable music players, and home audio systems.
The popularity of cassette tapes declined with the advent of digital audio formats, such as CDs and later, digital downloads and streaming services. However, they hold nostalgic value for many people and are still used by some enthusiasts and collectors.
Are Cassette Tapes Still a Thing?
Yes, there is a niche market for cassette tapes, and some people still buy them for various reasons. While cassette tapes are no longer the dominant format for music consumption, they have experienced a resurgence in popularity among certain communities and collectors.
Five Reasons Why People Dig Tapes
There are many reasons people still love this format. Here are five of them:
Many individuals who grew up during the era when cassette tapes were popular may have fond memories associated with them. Buying cassettes can be a way to relive or connect with the past.
Some music enthusiasts and collectors appreciate the physicality and uniqueness of cassette tapes. Limited edition or special releases on cassette can become sought-after items.
3. DIY and Independent Music
Independent musicians, bands, and smaller record labels sometimes release their music on cassette as a cost-effective physical format. DIY and underground music scenes often embrace cassette tapes as a tangible and affordable way to distribute music.
4. Vintage Appeal
Cassette tapes are seen by some as vintage or retro, and there is a certain charm to the analog format. Audiophiles may appreciate the warm, analog sound of cassette tapes.
5. Artistic Packaging
Some cassette releases come with unique and artistic packaging, making them attractive to collectors who appreciate the visual and tactile aspects of physical media.
It's important to note that while cassette tapes have found a niche market, they are still far less common than digital formats like CDs or vinyl records. The interest in cassettes is often driven by a combination of nostalgia, aesthetic appreciation, and support for independent or underground music.
What's A Mixtape?
A mixtape is a compilation of songs or tracks that are typically curated by an individual or a DJ. It's a collection of various musical pieces that are often mixed to create a seamless and cohesive listening experience. Mixtapes can include a variety of genres and artists, and they are often used to showcase the skills and creativity of the person creating the mix.
Originally, mixtapes were actual cassette tapes on which people would record their favorite songs or create custom playlists. With the advent of digital music and the internet, mixtapes have evolved into digital formats, such as playlists on streaming platforms or downloadable collections of songs. Mixtapes can be a means for artists to share unreleased tracks, remixes, or exclusive content with their fans, and they are also popular for DJs to showcase their mixing and blending abilities.
The History of the Mixtape Cassette
The history of the mixtape dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, with its origins tied to cassette tapes and the growing popularity of portable tape recorders. Here's a brief overview of the key stages in the history of mixtapes:
Home Taping Culture (1960s-1970s)
The mixtape phenomenon began with the advent of cassette tapes and portable tape recorders in the 1960s. As these technologies became more accessible, people started creating personalized playlists by recording their favorite songs from radio broadcasts or vinyl records onto cassette tapes. This allowed individuals to curate their music collections.
Hip-Hop and DJ Culture (1970s-1980s)
The mixtape gained prominence in the hip-hop and DJ culture during the 1970s and 1980s. DJs played a crucial role in popularizing mixtapes by recording their live performances and distributing them. These tapes often featured blends of popular songs, exclusive remixes, and the DJ's own commentary. They became a means for DJs to showcase their skills and for hip-hop artists to share their music with a wider audience.
Street Mixtapes (1980s-1990s)
In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, mixtapes became a significant part of hip-hop street culture. Independent artists and aspiring rappers used mixtapes as a low-cost way to distribute their music and gain exposure. These tapes often included original tracks, freestyles, and collaborations with other artists.
DJ Clue and the Mixtape Explosion (1990s-2000s)
DJ Clue, a prominent DJ and producer, played a crucial role in popularizing mixtapes in the mainstream during the late 1990s and early 2000s. His mixtapes featured exclusive tracks, unreleased material, and collaborations with major artists. This era saw the rise of mixtape DJs as influential figures in the music industry.
Digital Era (2000s-Present)
With the rise of the internet and digital music platforms, the format of mixtapes shifted from physical cassette tapes to digital files. Artists and DJs began sharing mixtapes online, reaching a global audience. Mixtape platforms like DatPiff and Livemixtapes became popular for hosting and promoting mixtapes. Additionally, streaming services like SoundCloud and Spotify have provided new avenues for artists to share mixtape-style content.
In summary, the mixtape has a rich history rooted in cassette tape culture, hip-hop, and DJ traditions. Over the years, it has evolved in format and distribution methods, but its essence as a curated collection of music remains a prominent aspect of contemporary music culture.
About Chris Auman
Hey, I'm a cassette tape enthusiast and music fan. In addition to Cassetty Comics, check out the zine I edit and write for, Used Records and Tapes. And, along with Cassetty, I run the cassette label Cassette Pet Cassettes. We have exactly one release under our belts so far. Amazing! Learn more about my comics, zines and music.