Many years ago I spent some time in the south of France, carefully sculpting my body-temple with red wine, saucisson and chocolate croissants. As I sat in cafe after cafe, soaking up the atmosphere one question always bugged me. Whats a K7?
Every corner store or Mom-and-Pop 7-11 advertised their wares on their shop-front – cigarettes, vin (of course), all the necessities of life …and K7s.
Eventually I summoned up courage and bad school-boy French to ask..”Qu’est-ce que c’est un….Ka…Sept ? ” The second I said it the phonetics kicked in – cassettes! Every corner store in France suddenly made sense.
Please feel free to impress your dinner companions with that nugget of truth, but then sit back and remember that the sheer fact that any small French grocery store could sell portable, packaged music was the start of a real revolution in how we listen to and enjoy music today. Before cassettes we had vinyl, pure and deep and rich and all that, but other than in Ringo Starr’s famous mini, totally unusable as a portable music player. Now, all of a sudden we could go buy a baguette and some pate and come away with Bat out of Hell, Nirvana or House of the Holies. Cast into stone by the prophet Steve Jobs, a whole generation stopped communicating and plugged their earphones into their iPods.
And the rest is history – 8-tracks(Mmm…), CDs, minidiscs, streaming and the true end of conversation as we know it. Well I wouldn’t be without my Spotify, Pandora or Amazon Music for love nor money, but then I know I’m not cool. Because the cool kids are all buying….K7s!
It’s true, new research from our friends over at Norman Records shows that cassettes are the new, well, cassettes..
2018’s cassette tape sales saw a drastic leap of 125.3% when compared to 2017 and accounted for the largest volume sold since 2004. Nearly 50,000 cassette albums were bought last year, according to new figures from the British Phonographic Industry.
2018’s biggest-selling act on cassette was The 1975: their latest album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, sold a very decent 7,523 copies.
They were joined in the top 10 by The Prodigy (their no.1 album No Tourists reaching 2,148 cassette sales) and, no surprise if you think about it, both editions of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack – Awesome Mix 1 & 2 – which have maintained popularity thanks to some very savvy marketing focused on the use of a a cassette Walkman by Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord in the Marvel films.
In his 1990 book, Good Omens, Neil Gaiman had the devil racing around the world in a big black car causing havoc. His favorite curse on humankind was that any cassette that stayed in a car more than a few days magically morphed into Abba’s greatest hits. Maybe that wasn’t so far-fetched, just maybe there is a whole world of sparkly flares and dancing Queen in our K7 future…