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A custom cassette mixtape can be whatever you want it to be
A new limited-run album or EP, a live album, your remixes of Barry Manilow songs…if that’s what you’re into.
More and more bands and artists are releasing on cassettes again. The format doubled in popularity last year. If you’re not involved, you’re missing out.
You don’t need a huge boxy computer from the ’90s or a load of analog gear that’s gathering dust in a basement.
You can make and submit everything digitally and let the cassette fairies take over.
Digital convenience, analog warmth. The hipster’s dream
These six steps will arm you with the knowledge you need to get your music on the hottest new (old) format…
Get Creative and Let The Music Flow
This is the part that should come naturally. Whether you’re making new music, recording some live tracks, or scraping your old hard drives for those gems that never saw the light of day, ready to create a mixtape.
Cassettes are great for releasing rarities and new pieces of music, or something exclusive and extra for your fans.
There are key differences between a custom mixtape vs albums.
Your album will probably be released on all major platforms (if you know what you’re doing) but a mixtape could just be a freebie or some extra merch to bundle with your band T-Shirts.
20,000 new releases came out on cassette last year. Some of the biggest bands are going retro.
So should you.
Choose your content, and get to work on finishing your album, mixtape, or collection of Enya cover versions. This is the fun part.
2. Get Your Songs Mastered
The next time someone asks you “who did your mastering, bro?” you don’t have to give them a confused look.
Mastering involves sending the final product to an engineer to apply some musical magic.
EQ, compression, limiting. These are the tools of the mastering engineer.
Done right, mastering should make your tracks really shine, and sound awesome on physical media. Specific mastering for custom cassette tapes can even account for saturation and hiss
To you and me, that means they take your tracks and get them ready for being written to tape. They make it sound awesome in the process.
3. Call in Some Favors From Your Artistic Friends
No custom cassette mixtape or album is complete without some eye-catching artwork.
Where would Pink Floyd be without the Dark Side of the Moon artwork?
Let’s face it. Cassettes are one of the coolest platforms for creating amazing artwork.
If you have artistic buddies, now is the time to promise them you’ll buy them several beers if they help you out.
Check out this guide on some of the coolest cassette artwork.
Download templates to create your artwork, J cards, and make your album look as good as Eiderdown’s…
Top tip: Bundling vinyl or cassettes with other merch is an amazing way to boost sales*
Disclaimer: Not if it looks like you got your grandma to make the artwork on photoshop.
4. Become a Marketing Maestro – Time to Decide on Packaging and Extras
Ready to feel like a kid in a candy store?
When it comes to packaging, you have options. Loads of awesome options.
Choose between colors. Clear for that ’90’s vibe or gold if you want to feel like a pimp.
The shell can be black, white, see-through.
Include a J-Card, with all of your lyrics, photos of you making the mixtape, or your kid’s finger paintings if you really want.
You don’t have to get a degree in marketing to know what looks great for a cassette.
Remember, a lot of people are buying these as a keepsake. Something to hold onto for life and treasure.
It’s worth putting the time in so it doesn’t end up looking like something a 4-year-old made while they played Minecraft.
5. Find a Place to Sell
If you want to sell your new music to someone other than your mom, you need to be found in the right places.
There are more places than ever to sell and distribute your music online. Bandcamp sales are still growing, and even your computer-illiterate dad could make a decent website these days with a tool like Squarespace.
If you’re gigging, you should 100% have a merch stand, and the more original ideas you can include, the more you’ll sell.
Cassettes have that retro appeal.
Get your sales platforms researched before getting the cassettes made. Hell, you can even take some pre-orders if you want. Your mom will definitely buy one of those…
6. Upload Your Files, Place Your Order, and Wait For The Mailman Like an Excited Puppy
It’s time to let those cassette fairies take over.
All you need to do is upload your tracks and artwork, and we’ll do the hard work. It couldn’t be simpler.
Time to start counting down the days till your cassettes arrive…
Wondering “where to find custom cassette tapes near me?”
Luckily, you can place your order for custom cassette tape duplication online and Unified Manufacturing’s speedy turnaround times will have your new mixtape or album with you in no time.
Are you ready to join the retro revolution? Is it time to finally get some incredible merch and make music fans take notice?
Cassette sales aren’t going to slow down any time soon. Make sure you get onboard.
Ben Jacklin is a music producer and blogger from the UK. He writes about music production, music promotion, and the music industry and runs his own site, Subreel.com.