Cassette sales in the UK at the highest level for over a decade


Cassette tapes are enjoying a likely resurgence in the UK, after rising to their highest sales levels in more than a decade.

Despite being technologically outdated, a BPI (British Phonographic Industry) report reveals that nearly 35,000 tapes were sold in the UK for the first half of 2019.

In contrast, some 18,000 tapes had been sold by the same point in 2018.

When it came to artists proving successful on tape, Billie Eilish has secured the top spot – selling 4,000 copies of her debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

It was followed by Catfish and The Bottlemen’s The Balance at 2 on 3,000 cassette sales, with Madonna’s Madame X at no.3, Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent at four and Hozier’s Wasteland Baby completing the top five.

Billie Eilish at Glastonbury

Billie Eilish at Glastonbury

Last year’s bestseller was The 1975’s A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships which sold 7,523 copies, most of which came in the first week of release.

While it appears that an apparent resurgence is on the cards, Wired suggests the possibility of cassettes being treated as “merch that just so happens to store and play music.”

It comes after 2018 saw an 125.3% year-on-year increase for cassettes to reach 50,000 sales in 2018. Often thought of as defunct, this was the highest recorded year for cassette sales in the UK since 2004.

While retailers did stock new albums on cassette, most of the sales came from the artists’ own official webstores, and often part of a limited edition run.