Take A Look Inside America's Last Remaining Cassette Tape Factory


If the resurgence of vinyl has taught us anything, it's that so-called dead media has an uncanny ability to rise from the grave and find an audience long after its supposed heyday. (Not you, Betamax.) Cassettes tapes are experiencing such a resurrection. A growing subculture of music fans still purchase old and new albums on the format, and Great Big Story recently toured the only factory still producing them United States. Because of the spike in popularity over the past few years, National Audio in Springfield, Missouri is busier than ever before.

In 2015, the company sold $5 million worth of cassettes—up 31 percent from the year before. According to chief technician Robert Coverston, they're on track to beat that record in 2016. "There is no question that cassettes are making a comeback," he told GBS. "About four or five years ago there was a sudden change. Every garage band you can imagine showed up at our doorstep wanting cassettes."

The video tour shows how the tape duplication process works, with conveyor belts and reels working to transfer music onto the magnetic tape before installing it into the plastic cases. If you have a demo you want released on cassette, Hunt says that the cost is around $2 for each tape (you have to order a lot more than one), but because National Audio is the last of its kind in the U.S., you may have to get in line.

[h/t Great Big Story]

Banner image credit: Great Big Story // YouTube