Cassette Tape Shortage Caused By Shortage Of Key Material

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 |

A resource crunch is hitting cassette tape manufacturing. While cassettes are not a dominant force in physical music consumption, trailing CDs and vinyl, there is still a growing trend of consumers for the format. Sales rose by 23% in 2018. Now there is a problem trying to match that increased demand.

According to the National Audio Company, the largest audiocassette tape manufacturer in the United States, there is a shortage of gamma ferric oxide, the most common material used for magnetic recording.

In a letter from the NAC to its customers, seen by Pitchfork, they note that the only factory that creates gamma ferric oxide has been under renovation for the much of the year and thus lowered output. They have only shipped two tons of the material this year, which has not been enough to fill orders on a 30-day schedule. They are waiting on back orders of 50 tons of gamma ferric oxide, which shows the extent of their shortage.

The NAC has been notified that they will get 11 tons this October, so some of the back ordered cassette tapes should be filled then. The factory hopes to be back up to normal operation by the end of the year.

The increased popularity of cassettes seems to have caught the music business off guard, unable to produce the amount of materials demanded for it. Just like there have been bottlenecks with vinyl production given that most plants closed years ago, cassettes may face this same concern unless new plants open.

Read the full letter below.

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Winter Music Conference was the cream of the crop of conferences. Every label owner, label A&R, DJ and artist knew they had to go network at the Fontainebleau where the conference was hosted. The conference was not only one of the most important time of the year as it relates to dance music but it was also a place where records were broken and became summer hits. Some of my best DJ memories are from the events I played during WMC in the last 20 years.

Erick Morillo

DJ / Producer / Label Boss - Subliminal Records

Having only missed the very first year of WMC in 1985, it was 1986-1990 that initially placed me on the map globally due to the international attendance of the entire dance music community. All throughout the 90s I was often getting written about by various high profile mags and websites for having contributed to help break many artists, DJs, producers and remixers. WMC enabled me to bring many top industry people together all under one roof, especially at Groove Jet, where house music officially met Techno in my sets and it’s all been uphill since…TBC

Danny Tenaglia

DJ, Producer

I first went to WMC ’87, the year I started Big Beat. It was an incredibly inspiring congregation of indie labels, DJs, artists, songwriters, producers and dance music lovers dedicated to breaking and discovering new music. WMC has been instrumental in furthering the dance and electronic cause; keeping the community connected, vital and relevant, and serving as an amazing springboard for talent. It’s a fantastic crucible for the future of dance music. Long may it live.

Craig Kallman

CEO & Co-Chairman Atlantic Records, Founder Big Beat Records

If you want to know about our industry from the people that make it happen then go to WMC. It’s an accelerated masterclass in all things dance music.

Carl Cox

DJ/Intec Records

Winter Music Conference is my ground zero. It has always provided the perfect storm of opportunity and excitement for up and coming artists, including myself back in 2003, where I first caught a glimpse of how it felt to have an audience respond to my work. Over the years, I’ve always made it a point to have WMC in my calendar because that’s the spot where everyone congregates and you can feel it in the air. Creativity, brother and sisterhood, FUN and most of all the chance to come together as a community and celebrate the reason we are all here—the music.”