Cassette single

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Cassette single
Cassette Single trademark logo
Media type magnetic tape
Encoding analog signal
Capacity generally less than 10 minutes total (2-3 songs), sometimes repeated on both sides
Read mechanism tape head
Usage audio playback

A cassette single (CS, also known by the trademark "Cassingle" or capitalized as the trademark "Cassette Single") is a music single in the form of a Compact Cassette.

History[edit]

American record companies began releasing cassette singles on a large scale in 1987, when vinyl record album sales were declining in favor of cassette recordings; the cassette single was meant to replace the 45 record in a similar way.[1] The format was not new, though; Bow Wow Wow's "C30, C60, C90, Go!" was released on cassette in the U.K. in 1980,[2] and I.R.S. Records released the Go-Go's "Vacation" in the U.S. in 1982.[1]

The ZTT label made good use of the format by 1984, with singles by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Art of Noise and Propaganda being issued in unique versions on cassette.

The format was used as a promotion in the 1990s, with Disney giving a "cassingle" to attendees of Hercules promotional events.[3]

Packaging[edit]

A modern cassette single (by Tatu) in an O case packaging. This single is sold only in the O case and does not have an insert

Originally, most cassette singles were released in a cardboard sleeve that slipped over the outside of the release. This was then usually shrink wrapped in plastic. Some singles contained one song on each side, much as 45s had done, but others repeated the songs on both sides. In some markets, cassette singles generally used the same packaging as standard cassettes, a plastic box with a paper insert.

As the cassette maxi-single was released, more intricate packaging was incorporated that looked similar to the packaging of a regular cassette release. These were placed in regular plastic cassette cases with a paper/cardstock insert. Unlike a full-length cassette album, these were generally only one two-sided inlay instead of a fold-out. Maxi-singles usually contained four versions of a single song, i.e.: unique mixes & edits, but some contained versions of two different songs.

Popularity[edit]

Although the cassette had reached a high level of popularity by the late 1980s, due to the ubiquity of mobile devices such as the Sony Walkman, the boombox and car audio cassette players, cassette singles never eclipsed gramophone records to the same extent as cassette albums had done. In the U.S., cassette singles were completely phased out by the early 2000s. In April 2013, however, psychedelic rock band MGMT released the first single from their third album as a cassette single.

See also[edit]

References[edit]