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By Chang Dong-woo

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SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) — For admirers of bedrock and abundant metal music, a appointment to Dope Records, an absolute almanac abundance run by Kim Yun-jung in Mapo, western Seoul, evokes a aberrant feeling. The dim-lit basement boutique feels as if time has rewound aback to the mid-90s — about three abode of the 82-square-meter abundance is covered carpeting by a huge accumulating of bedrock music cassette tapes.

With a excess of about 15,000 tapes (50,000 aback including ones in storage), predominantly Western rock, pop music and additionally archetypal Korean albums, the abundance is assuredly a abundance accession for those with addicted memories of application a Walkman during the 1980s to the backward 1990s, aback the boilerplate started to appearance out. But in the agenda age, Dope Records, at aboriginal glance, seemed about baleful from a business perspective.

“I’ve been in music retail aback 2001 and what I’ve learned, admitting the afterlife of cassettes, is that there consistently has been a baby but agog appeal for tapes. As with vinyl, music geeks are starting to see amount in cassette tapes, for both alert and collecting,” Kim, 42, said.

Kim Yun-jung, buyer of the absolute music abundance Dope Annal in western Seoul, checks the account of new cassette tapes on Sept. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

Kim is one of the baby but steadily growing cardinal of South Korean music admirers who debris to acquiesce the cassette to blow in the accepted graveyard of ancient technologies. They see a accurate amount in cassette tapes, already the ascendant music commitment architecture that boomed with the acceleration of carriageable bandage players but now has become relegated to clutter cachet in the eyes of boilerplate people.

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To be clear, Dope Annal isn’t accepting its accumulation from music labels or through acceptable retail means. Synnara Record, South Korea’s better music retail chain, abandoned all of its bandage account a few years ago amidst flatlined sales. Most above labels accept additionally apoplectic bandage assembly for absolutely some time, admitting a cardinal of baby amble music companies, such as Applemusic and Four Season Music Power, advance assembly of amble music cassettes mostly for the alcove chief market.

As for Kim, he catholic about the country for years, scavenging bounded mom and pop almanac shops about to go apprehension — to admission the actual cassettes that would contrarily be befuddled away.

Kim said he was frequently asked by abashed boutique owners, “Why are you affairs these?”

Shoppers are apparent analytic for attenuate cassette tapes at Dope Records, in this undated photo provided by the store. (Yonhap)

Interestingly enough, tapes accept apparent a small-yet-significant bang in sales in the United States area they are still actuality produced in bound volume. According to Billboard, 129,000 tapes were awash in 2016, jumping 74 percent on-year. Admitting boilerplate a sales of CDs and vinyl, it is an indicator that some admirers are accommodating to absorb money on tapes, according to Kim.

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“I anticipate the absorption in cassettes today was rekindled aback the aboriginal soundtrack for the Hollywood cine ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ came out in a cassette architecture a few years ago, akin a mix bandage of altered singers which about all of us accept acquaintance with in the past,” he said.

Kim isn’t abandoned aback it comes to administration his affection for cassettes. Bodies Who Accept to Cassette Tapes, a association of bandage aficionados on Naver, was formed in October of aftermost year, with its associates extensive over 1,700. With over 9,000 posts, the association is alive in administration advice on area to buy tapes and how to fix discontinued bandage decks and carriageable audio cassette players.

For Kwak Jae-ho, 38, generally he has no best but to accept to tapes that he already owns. Due to active absorb negotiations, there are music that admirers can’t admission on agenda alive services, such as Melon or Apple Music. This is added of the case for alcove artists, he said.

“I’m a fan of the mid-90s applesauce bandage Daisy and the group’s song ‘My Little Bird.’ I can chase for the bandage on Melon but can’t comedy the music, which aloof defeats the purpose of accepting an all-you-can-listen agenda music service,” said Kwak.

Alert to music on tapes, as against to CDs and agenda streaming, additionally resonates emotionally deeper, said Kwak: “When alert to tapes at home recently, I heard the beat complete of the cassette accouter accomplishing an auto reverse. It acquainted like I was activity aback to the past. Music to me isn’t aloof a accumulating of songs. Its built-in into my accomplished and my memories.”

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   The almanac industry, including above labels, is allegedly demography agenda of this trend, absolution tapes admitting in bound agreement and mostly as collectors’ merchandise.

S.M. Entertainment printed a bound 50,000 copies of boy bandage SHINee’s fifth feature anthology “1 of 1” in cassette architecture aftermost year, while singer-turned-talk appearance celebrity Kim Heung-kook aftermost year re-released his 1994 anthology “Last Reggae” beneath the new name “God of Reggae.” Singer-songwriter IU additionally produced a bound cardinal of appropriate cassette tapes to duke out to admirers during a meet-and-greet accident aftermost Sunday.

This angel shows the bandage adaptation of boyband SHINee’s fifth feature anthology “1 of 1” appear in October 2016. (Yonhap)

There’s additionally addition accumulation of bodies who buy tapes and for their own reasons: seniors accepting adversity with the alteration times. Downloading and subscribing to agenda music casework on smartphones may be a airing in the esplanade for the majority of today’s adolescent generation, but it’s not the case for abounding elders.

“I’m affairs it to accept at home alone. It’s accessible to use, and I don’t apperceive how to use a smartphone,” Kim Young-hwan, 77, said while purchasing a cassette bandage of amble accumulation songs at CD Mart, a almanac boutique in Jongno Ward, a axial commune in Seoul that is a accepted stomping arena for retired seniors.

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Song Ho-joon, buyer of CD Mart, said about 20 to 30 tapes are purchased daily, mostly by seniors.

“Some additionally buy cassette decks too,” he said. “Cassettes are abundant easier to use and abiding compared to CDs. They apparently acclimated tapes all their lives.”

Song Ho-joon, buyer of the music abundance CD Mart in axial Seoul, checks the altitude of acclimated carriageable audio cassette players on Sept. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

Some experts aspect the almost aerial amount of vinyl records, addition admired awakening music format, as one acumen collectors are scavenging for out-of-print cassette tapes.

“I anticipate there is an aspect of a knee-jerk acknowledgment to the amount of vinyl. Cassette tapes are awash almost cheap, but the complete isn’t necessarily inferior aback played on a acceptable deck,” said music analyzer Kim Hak-seon.

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Admitting it isn’t bright whether the renewed appeal for cassette tapes will last, some retailers are acrimonious up on the trend to try to accommodated the needs.

“We’ve gotten a authority of some accomplished Sechskies albums recently,” Hwang Seung-soo, buyer of Seoul Almanac in Jongno, said. “We’re seeing barter in their 20s and 30s advancing in to the abundance allurement for cassette tapes of such and such album, so we’re aggravating to accommodate.”

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