Vinyl Records, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays

Creative Packaging

by Admin

Cassettes: Re-record don't fade away

Like vinyl records, cassette tapes have been making a resurgence as of late. Though the contrast isn’t as large as it is with vinyl. The British Phonographic Industry has projected that 157,000 tapes will have been sold in the UK by the end of 2020, despite two national coronavirus lockdowns.

That’s the highest number since 2003, when compilation ‘Now 54’ – featuring the likes of Oasis, Girls Aloud and Busted – was the biggest seller on tape.

The best-selling cassettes of 2020 were occupied by Lady Gaga‘s ‘Chromatica’, Yungblud‘s second album ‘Weird’, and the The 1975‘s ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’.

Though still only a fraction of overall recorded music, cassettes, typically released in limited edition format, now come as standard on many album releases.

This increase in sales marks an eighth year of consecutive growth for the format, which is finding a new market among music enthusiasts of all ages who value its retro, collectable appeal.

It's safe to say that cassettes will never regain a place as a standard format within the music industry. When listening to music, chances are you are not going to be listening to tapes, especially with the increase in music streaming that's taking over the industry. Yet that's not really the point of buying a tape. Having the music in a physical form is something that is attractive, due to the tangible nature of the product.

But what other use has magnetic tape, apart from the audio cassette?

Tape’s heyday as a data-storage medium for computers was in the 1950s. Hard disks, introduced in 1956, were quickly seen as superior because they required no time-consuming spooling. Decades of investment mean they now also have a better density of information storage than tape. 2018 saw the sale of more than 800bn gigabytes-worth, which is eight times the figure for tape. But disks have drawbacks. They are costlier than tape, have shorter lifespans and their spinning platters generate far more unwanted heat.

This leads to tape being the medium of choice for the so-called “cold” storage of data that only need to be looked at infrequently. The storage density of magnetic tape has been increasing steadily, by 34% a year for nearly three decades. As a consequence, tape may catch up with hard disks within three years.

What is the biggest threat?

The biggest threat to tape comes from the flash-drive technology used in SD cards and USB sticks. Flash drives are, however, more costly than magnetic storage and do not last as long. This makes them ten times more expensive per byte, per year of storage than hard disks, and nearly 50 times more expensive than tape. Until that changes, magnetic tape is likely to continue.

The amount of data in the world soon will surpass 40 zettabytes, according to the World Economic Forum. By 2025, that number is expected to reach 175 zettabytes, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

Today, data has value like never before, and it’s often referred to as “the currency of the digital economy.” As such a vital asset, it’s very important that organizations have workable, economically-sound strategies in place for data backups, disaster recovery, and archiving.

The best protection against a ransomware attack is to store a copy of critical data offline on magnetic tape

Ransomware attacks have fluctuated in recent years. But the threat is still very real. According to a recent report from McAfee, ransomware attacks increased 118% in 2018, and over 2 billion stolen account credentials were found on underground sites used by criminals.

The threat is too serious to ignore. Data backup and security processes must address the risk, and companies are forced to put measures in place to safeguard against it. Best practice methods for data protection follow a 3-2-1-1 strategy—three copies of data using two different types of media with one copy kept offsite and one offline. The best protection against a ransomware attack is to store a copy of critical data offline on magnetic tape where hackers and cybercriminals cannot corrupt it.

So the WHIRR of spooling magnetic tape is more likely to evoke feelings of nostalgia than technological awe. Yet tape remains important for data storage, with millions of kilometres of the stuff coiled up in the world’s data centres. Estimates suggest that four times more data will be generated in 2025 than in 2019. In the part of the data-storage market where tape currently reigns supreme, it is likely to remain so for a while.

Sources: The Economist  LTO Consortium  NME Quantum

If you want to make audio cassettes or need more information about making vinyl or CDs, just get in touch at [email protected]


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