Please don’t start buying cassette tapes from Urban Outfitters
Look, we’re not here to order you around — planted on the “do whatever the hell you want” seat is where we like to sit — but it’s not in anyone’s best interest to buy another piece of nostalgic junk from Urban Outfitters.
Recently the hipper than thou store announced it's going to try and bring back the lost ‘80s flare starting Oct 17 ("Casette Store Day," whatever that is), and not coincidentally, we’re announcing that’s a horrible idea.
What are the new tapes (and even worse, the poorly manufactured players you’ll need to buy) going to be sold for? Ten dollars? Twenty? That’s the price of a monthly Spotify (or whatever streaming site you’d like to use) account. An account that gives users an entire library of already existing, and newly released music conveniently found on any handheld device, with unlimited access.
A tape will run you maybe an hour, of one artist, at best. With most of the proceeds going to a store that has neither yours, ours or the country's best interest in mind. All while you sit, listening at home in front of the crappy imported player or maybe in your dad’s minivan with the one working tape deck left in the city (shout-out to dads with minivans!). The opportunity cost of not purchasing one novelty album is there, at least.
And if you’ve seen any part of the streaming debacle currently dominating the industry around the ‘net, you know the war isn’t pretty. Artists are being ripped off, mega-companies can’t seem to turn a profit, sites are being sued for billions of dollars, and the value of music — both emotionally and monetarily — is going down. Way down.
Music in the Internet era needs that money. No, streaming doesn't pay for plays all that great right now, but that's because most musicians are locked into awful contracts while the labels play stranger pocket-pool in the artist's skinny jeans. Being able to support streaming giants, like Spotify, only allows for the company to grow and situate themselves to pay better, and will likely (down the road) allow for independent artists to have more control over who hears their music and at what price. Streaming companies can literally take labels out of the equation, they know this, that's why they've waged such a battle on every site hosting music.
“But I have an account and want to buy a few tapes,” you say? Great, good for you, you spend more money on music than most people do in America. Well done, keep up the good work. You earned it.
For anyone else that just wants a manipulated ride into Rememberland: First of all, stop living in the past, it’s fucking 2015 — get on board. Second, if you really need to, wait for the McRib to come back, look though old photos at your parents’ house, and leave that time where it lies. There’s a reason why tapes barely exist anymore, and it’s called change.
Stop allowing these behemoth companies to play consumers like a record player, one that they themselves probably outsourced from a few 8-year-old Chinese workers to turn a profit. Nostalgia works for a variety of reasons, but mostly because these massive companies have figured out how to use our brains as their own personal ATM. Tell them to fuck off, and to get more creative with their inventories. Maybe support local artists, or buy an album directly from a musician's site; that means more to the industry than what most people give it credit for.
Urban Outfitters sucks anyways ...