They were the must-have item of the 90s, and now, it seems cassettes are cool again.
The surge in popularity for the device has led to a shortage of magnetic tape.
National Audio, the only company in the US that produces cassette tapes, says it has less than a year’s supply left.
Now, its co-owner and president Steve Stepp says he is planning to build the US’ first high-grade tape manufacturing line in decades to help meet demand.
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They were the must-have item of the 90s, but it seems that cassette tapes are now under threat. Experts have warned that the world is running out of cassette tape, and new production methods are required
WILL FAX MACHINES MAKE A RETURN?
It seems the fax machine could return to offices because it is deemed a more secure way to send sensitive messages in the age of the internet.
The boss of Sony Pictures who was left highly embarrassed after a cyber attack leaked millions of compromising company emails has reverted to using a fax.
Michael Lynton writes messages by hand and then sends them by fax.
They cannot be targeted by hackers because messages are sent via telephone lines meaning information can only be obtained by tapping the right line.
Among the leaked Sony emails was one branding actress Angelina Jolie a ‘minimally talented spoilt brat’ with a ‘rampaging ego’.
Experts from National Audio are developing new ways to make magnetic tape using rust and a 62-foot-long contraption that is normally used to create magnetic strips on credit cards, Wall Street Journal.
If production goes to plan, the machine should produce almost four miles of tape a minute by January.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Stepp, said: ‘The best tape ever made.
‘People will hear a whole new product.’
While you may think of cassette tapes as old-fashioned options, many people are still interested in the format.
Lee Rickard, 32, co-founder of independent record label Burger Records, which is based in Orange County, a suburb of Los Angeles, explained the appeal, saying: ‘Music just sounds different on tape, sometimes as it was originally intended to sound.
‘Cassettes are compact, tangible, instant collectables, often with original and numbered artwork — and as cheap as a cup of coffee, so you can support your local artist without buyer’s remorse.
‘We worked with Green Day to produce a cassette version of their Dookie album, but most of the acts are young and unknown — for now.’
Among National Audio Co’s repeat customers are heavy metal band Metallica, Twenty One Pilots, and several up-and-coming bands.
Amongst National Audio Co’s repeat customers are heavy metal band Metallica (pictured), Twenty One Pilots, and several up-and-coming bands
But cassette tape is no longer widely produced, and since 2014, when National Audio Co’s main producer ceased production, stockpiles have been shrinking.
Tape-making is not a simply process, and requires a finely calibrated slurry of metallic particles and polyurethane, miles of Mylar, 48 feet of ovens, a small amount of radioactivity and a very precise slicer.
And while Mr Stepp has kept the details of his new production method a secret, he hopes to ship the first cassettes with the tape by January.