Interested in new cassette releases, but don't know where to start? Cassettivity is a cassette-only distribution site, founded by music lover Dave Sandifer. In 2013, a cassette-only distro might seem like an odd venture, but I was delighted to see it: I’ve had a difficult time keeping up with the many new and exciting cassette-only labels—they’re often extremely obscure and titles are often extremely limited—so an intelligent distribution channel makes good sense.

For the music lover interested in exploring the surprisingly vast and colorful world of new cassette releases, Cassettivity seems to be an excellent resource. Sandifer currently carries releases from 10 labels, but says he would like to add more. He has also become fascinated with cassette decks and says he “went on a deck-shopping freak-out,” purchasing four vintage decks—Nakamichis and Tascams, all—over the course of just a couple weeks. He plans to learn more about the decks, make sure they’re functioning properly, make any necessary improvements, and continue to expand his collection with the hopes of selling the decks to interested customers. Cassettivity, then, may very well become a one-stop destination for fans of the cassette format.

Why cassettes?

Sandifer thinks cassettes provide a great and affordable opportunity to explore exciting new music—most new releases come from adventurous, young bands and cost just $5–$8—and, just as important, says Sandifer, is a distinct sound that benefits certain types of music. While listening to a Led Zeppelin tape, Sandifer found the saturation of John Bonham’s drum sound to be perfect.

For more info, explore Cassettivity. Most offerings are accompanied by a brief description, big pictures, and sound samples. I’m thinking I need to become better acquainted with Voices, Porcelain Raft, and Night of Pleasure, among others.

Ariel Bitran's picture

saturation.... mmmm.....

MrGneiss's picture

Your enthusiastic writing about cassettes made me feel not so weird about buying a new cassette deck a few years ago, so thank you!! :-D

BTW, have you found a cassette deck yet?? If not, get to it!!

LA mitchell's picture

Yeah I like the saturation sound of a good cassette mix-tape, I really do.

For me, as a minimalist, a good DAC, LAPTOP, and a subscription to MOG are all I care to have at this point. Plenty of new music to find and I help keep the planet green, too!


BillK's picture

For anyone looking, several manufacturers still make these, notably several makers of broadcast/club equipment like Denon, Pyle, Tascam and TEAC, not to mention decent deals to be found for the savvy shopper on eBay.

On the other hand, blank media of any quality is pretty difficult to obtain (most being normal bias and some "chrome" - production of metal position tapes ended long ago for environmental reasons) and is expensive once found, most of it being NOS.

Drtrey3's picture

go to bed every night listening to cassettes. Usually I make them put in some mellow mixer tape I made decades before they were born, but occasionally they sneak in some of the Beat or X or some other inappropriate sleeping music under my ears! They have a cd player, but the retrotech is steampunk to them, and they prefer the visibly moving parts of the Onkyo dual cassette with Dolby C.

Interestingly, their sister, also 10, prefers shiny discs out of an old dvd/universal player through a Marantz QUAD amp over a pair of Emotiva ERM 4.1s. But then she just listens to Brian Wilson singing Disney every night.

To each their own.