Monday, February 25, 2013

Cassettes Go To Prison

Cassettes image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Cassettes may be an audio delivery platform from a different era, but just like vinyl, there's still a bit of life left. Believe it or not, there are still a number of indie record labels that provide limited editions of cassette releases (Baldy Longhair Records, Scotch TapesCold Slice, to name just a few), but cassettes are now getting a new lease on life thanks to the New York prison system.

Now a New York marketing company that sells exclusively to prison inmates called Send A Package has made a deal with Universal Music Group to sell cassettes from artists like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Nas and Jadakiss to the inmates of New York. While on the surface this sounds completely ludicrous, it becomes a well-thought plan when you realize that prisoners aren't allowed to have CDs. Cassettes however, are allowed, and Universal is more than pleased to supply them with their favorite hip-hop from the present and the past.

Send A Package is unique in that it allows family and friends to send gifts to prisoners that are pre-approved and not subject to search by prison security. It's also a place where inmates can buy anything from food to magazines to clothing. The company buys the cassettes from UMG at $6 each, then resells them to inmates for $13.

Believe it or not, cassettes are still widely used throughout the world as in many cases that's all that's available for music delivery. While that usually applies to what we would consider the third world, it just goes to show that there's still a little bit of the third world right at home, and that some formats refuse to die.


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