Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Young people "buying so many cassettes they're evolving fingers shaped like pencils to tighten the spools', BBC believe

Hey, you know what? Kids today! They're buying cassettes like they're coming back into fashion.

That's what the BBC say, anyway:

One in 10 young people has bought a music cassette tape in the last month, a new survey done to coincide with Record Store Day suggests.

The research suggests that physical formats are still more popular than digital downloads.

In the last year, 57% of the people surveyed had bought a CD, while 39% had purchased an MP3 download.
In the last month.

There's just over four million 20-24 year olds in the UK, so that would imply 400,000 cassettes sold each month just to that proportion of the 18-24 year old age group. Let's be generous and assume 18 & 19 year olds bought no cassettes at all, and that for the other 11 months of the year, none of this age group bought any cassettes.

How does this figure fit with cassette sales?

Well, we know that in 2013, album sales on media other than CD, vinyl or digital download accounted for just 73,000 sales. That's cassettes, but also box sets of vinyl, DVD Audio and other strange beasts. But let's pretend that it's all tape, shall we?

Ah, but for singles, the figure for 'others' is six million or so. Could that be where all these cassette purchases are hidden?

Probably not - the other figure for 2012 was nearly four and a half million, and we know just 604 of those were cassingles. Even if we - again generously - assume a 100-fold increase in cassette single sales between 2012 and 2013, that's 60,400 sales.

So, even on the most generous and lax granting of licence, and over-estimating like we're Nigel Farage putting in his office running costs, we make that 133,000 cassettes sold in 2013.

So, for the Record Store Day figures to hold up, we're going to have to believe that a thin sliver of the national demographic suddenly bought four times as many tapes in March 2014 as the entire population in the whole of 2013 on the loosest possible reading of the figures.

In other words: this is absolute tock-widdle, and the BBC should be ashamed of running it as fact. But not as ashamed as Record Store Day should be of putting out such ramtwaddle.

After all...


Robin Carmody said...

So there you have it, the new establishment: even more resentful towards the young than the old one.

frankosonic said...

For what it's worth. I put all my old cassettes on discogs and also a lot of vinyl/cds too.

The cassettes have been flying - the vinyl/cd not so much.

No idea why

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

I suppose that second-hand cassettes might account for the 'missing' sales; hadn't accounted for that...

Chris Brown said...

Somebody on one of the chart forums where I hang out claims to have sold an Evanescence cassette single last year for almost £100.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

I've got a copy of that rave version of Smells Like Teen Spirit kicking about somewhere. I think I now have a pension plan...

Robin Carmody said...

I'm sure second-hand cassettes *are* selling - in charity shops as well - but probably not to young people.

Robin Carmody said...

re. the value of an Evanescence cassette single: that would only really be because by the time they emerged (2003), the format was very rare and only a tiny number would have been produced as loss leaders. Cassette singles from a decade earlier, certainly of mainstream number one hits such as they had, would be worth much less.

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