- Text by Alex King
If you’ve played a part in the unlikely tape revival, chances are you’ve been listening to cassettes manufactured by the Missouri’s National Audio Company.
When everybody else was making a rush to CDs in the late ‘90s, NAC were the only company in America “too stubborn to quit” on the beloved audio format. Now they’re laughing, selling more than ever in their history as bands, record labels and listeners come flooding back to the much-loved analogue tapes.
As the cassette business plummeted, they bought up a rag-tag collection of machinery from manufacturers across the US who threw in the towel. The team are constantly battling to keep the ageing equipment going, and have adopted ingenious solutions to keep the obsolete technology pumping out tapes – like marrying a ‘30s cigarette wrapping machine with a microprocessor.
Now that everyone from Burger Records to Metallica have embraced the cassette once again, NAC have surfed the wave of popularity, helping to support a culture that would have struggled to be reborn without their unfailing belief in the cheap and clunky but awesome retro format.