- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2019

Vinyl is hardly the only medium making a resurgence among music listeners. Cassette tape album sales increased 23 percent in the U.S. during 2018, Billboard reported Thursday.

Domestic sales of cassette albums totaled 219,000 tapes in 2018, up nearly a quarter from 178,000 sold during the previous year, according to Nielsen Music statistics cited by the magazine.

A dominant format decades earlier, sales of cassette tapes constituted a fraction of one percent of the 141 million records sold last year across all mediums, according to Billboard’s data, placing it well behind competing formats like on-demand streams, digital downloads and compact discs.

Cassettes made up 40 percent of the total albums sold in 1994, or around 246 million of the 615 million records moved that year, prior to nearly being made obsolete by CDs and the internet. Tape sales have soared in recent years, however, up from hardly 50,000 sold in 2014 prior to a recent resurgence in popularity, Billboard reported.

Both of the two top-selling cassette albums of 2018 in the U.S. were soundtracks to the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. The first and second volume of the “Awesome Mix” series sold 24,00 and 19,000 copies, respectively, Billboard reported.

“Trench,” the 2018 album by duo Twenty One Pilots, was the third-best selling cassette of the year, according to Billboard. It sold 7,000 copies. The soundtrack to the Netflix series “Stranger Things” and a re-release of the first Britney Spears album, “…Baby One More Time,” rounded out the list of the nation’s five best-selling albums of 2018, meanwhile, moving a combined total of 9,000 tapes.

Other albums listed by Billboard as among the best-selling cassette tapes of 2018 include albums by Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Elvis Presley and the Wu-Tang Clan. Each ranked among the top-ten, albeit without selling more than 3,000 copies apiece.

Cassette album sales increased by 35 percent between 2016 and 2017, Billboard previously reported.

Vinyl sales increased 15 percent last year over 2017, Nielsen announced earlier this month, marking the 13th consecutive year of growth.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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