The Walkman Isn’t Dead – Cassette Players Are Making a Comeback with New Technology

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Spotify and Apple Music may not need to worry just yet, but the two popular music streaming services should keep an eye on an old adversary: cassette tapes.

Thanks to the work of one French company, the personal audio cassette player is making comeback. And this time, things are a little different.

Mulann is a European company that produces magnetic strips for items like debit and credit cards. However, those magnetic strips are also used for audio by professional recording engineers to capture film and music footage.


Just four years ago, Mulann made a savvy business move to create a subsidiary company called Recording the Masters. It’s mission? To take advantage of the rapid rise in demand for analog music in the form of cassette tapes.

CEO Jean-Luc Renou acknowledged that the digital music industry is king. Yet, he made an interesting comparison in describing the possibility of a co-existing relationship between analog and digital music.

“It’s like heating. In your home, you have heaters in every room–high numbers–and that’s not going to change. That’s digital,” Renou explained. “But you can also have a single fireplace, and it takes time to experience something different–this is analogue. The fireplace isn’t going to replace your heaters and the heaters won’t forever kill the fireplace.”

Of course, technological advances have made it possible to incorporate some new features into portable cassette players, which became popular in the 1980s thanks to the Sony Walkman. In fact, Mulann partnered with La Toile sur Ecoute to launch a modernized portable cassette player that will feature significantly better sound quality, bluetooth connectivity and a rechargeable battery all at a cost of $76.

That price point should help capture a share of the growing market for old-school musical formats. One report revealed that in 2018, there were more than 219,000 audio cassettes sold in the United States. That represented a massive leap from the 178,000 sold the year prior.


And while 80 percent of music is streamed in the United States, it is never too late to ditch the digital and enjoy the authenticity of analog music.