The way people listen to music has undergone various changes through the years, and now it seems we’ve come full circle. A French company called Mulann is the only place in Europe that still produces the magnetic strips used in cassette tapes, used mostly by professional recording engineers who use analog format to tape film and music.

Now, the company will launch a new portable cassette player called Le Walkman that will cost €69 (R1 108).

The company says analog is complementary to digital music, reports ForbesJean-Luc Renou, the CEO of Mulann group, said the company doesn’t expect to compete with digital music but insists there is room for both to exist.

“It’s like heating. In your home, you have heaters in every room–high numbers–and that’s not going to change,” Renou said. “That’s digital. 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.”

UK cassette sales reached 80 404 in 2019, the highest annual figure since just over 100 000 in 2004 according to The Mirror. It would seem that vintage is the new modern, as the sales of vinyl have also spiked in recent years, with an estimated 9.7-million album sales in 2018, as reported by an annual music consumption from BuzzAngle.

The Walkman and cassette tapes are also not a foreign concept for South African’s with many still holding onto fond memories of listening to their favourite songs in analogue-style or even cruising down the street with music playing from the older cassette using models.

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Anita Froneman