Sales of cassette tapes (yes, cassettes) grew 35 percent in 2017, report says

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-06 18:27:54-05

 Sales of cassette albums grew last year — fueled by either a sense of nostalgia or curiosity.

Cassette tape sales grew 35 percent in 2017 with 174,000 units sold, marking the most sales for the format since 2012, according to the Nielsen Music's year-end report.

According to Billboard, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" is to thank for the spike in sales.

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The music website reported cassette sales figures from Dec. 30, 2016, through Dec. 28, 2017, were as follows:

  • Various Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2: 19,000 units
  • Various Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1: 15,000 units
  • Various Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Mix, Vol. 1: 5,000 units
  • Stranger Things, Volume One: 3,000 units
  • Eminem, The Eminem Show: 3,000 units
  • Various Artists, The Hamilton Mixtape: 3,000 units
  • Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain (Soundtrack): 2,000 units
  • Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface: 2,000 units
  • Kanye West, Yeezus: 2,000 units
  • Nirvana, Nevermind: 2,000 units

Cassettes were also driven by recent pop-culture breakouts including Netflix's "Stranger Things" and the hit Broadway musical "Hamilton."

It may be far too early to call it a comeback, though. The format remains a niche, only comprising 0.10 percent of all album sales in 2017 and 0.17 percent of physical album sales, Billboard reported.

In the same Nielsen report, vinyl sales also jumped nine percent, the format's 12th-straight year of growth. Vinyl sales last year were led by The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which sold 72,000 units.

The top-selling vinyl albums were:

  • Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: 72,000 units
  • Beatles, Abbey Road: 66,000 units
  • Various Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1: 62,000 units
  • Ed Sheeran, Divide: 62,000 units
  • Amy Winehouse, Back To Black: 58,000 units
  • Prince, Purple Rain: 58,000 units
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers, Legend: 56,000 units
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side Of The Moon: 54,000 units
  • Soundtrack, La La Land: 49,000 units
  • Michael Jackson, Thriller: 49,000 units

Overall music consumption of albums, songs, and on-demand streaming grew 12.5 percent year over year. Also for the first time, hip-hop music became the most dominant genre. Seven of the top 10 most-consumed albums were from hip-hop artists.