Qassettes — keeping it reel

qassettes cassettes qrates crowdfunded

In an age where vinyl is making a storming (with a small s) comeback, it’s only logical that minds turn to other forms of media to see if they can be rerinsed to make some cash from hipsters. And bugger me if the venerable cassette isn’t popular all over again. Capitalising on this are the QRATES team — we covered their somewhat spiffing vinyl service a little while ago, and it looks like they’re aiming to do the same thing with cassettes too… or QASSETTES as they would have you call it.

The process is the same as QRATES — upload your music, design your cassette, and start the funding process to make it happen. Looking at the image, you get a choice of cassette colour and I would imagine that this extends to printed label and inlay too.


I do have a nostalgic love for cassettes. Being of an age where I can say that I made and sold mixtapes in my local record shop, it’s hard for me not get behind such a venture. And while I know that they wouldn’t be doing this without thinking that there’s a demand, I struggle with the idea that people would go back to carrying around walkmans, putting up with lower quality than digital audio, and having to FF to the next track. But it’s not just about the portability or quality — it’s about having something tangible and real in your hands again.

Indeed my friends Jon Furst and Mr Brown are involved in cassette projects. But despite the constant sharing of Mr Tape and similar clips, cassettes are not for DJs to play out with. It is however easier to make actual physical mixtapes and not have to do it in one 30 or 45 minutes take. But with CDs costing pennies, giving out mixtapes isn’t a cheap endeavour.

But what about playing cassettes? Not a problem. eBay is chokka with old units, and Amazon is littered with all manner of new devices. And unlike two years ago, blank cassettes are easy to get hold of too, but sadly not the AD90s that I used exclusively. Not that I plan to make cassettes again anyway.

While the aesthetic of home dubbing and hand labelling still appeals to me, the Qassettes concept may well be better for more than a few at a time. This service is still at announcement stage, but should you want to keep up to date, sign up here.