20 Mar 2024

CDs, cassette tapes and VHS reaching cult status

From Nights, 10:40 pm on 20 March 2024
Creeps Record Parlour in Wellington.

Creeps Record Parlour in Wellington Photo: Supplied

With the price of vinyl getting higher and higher, more young people are seeking out CDs to have a way to get their hands on a physical copy of their favourite tunes.

Sellers say that physical media like CDs, cassette tapes and VHS are increasingly achieving cult status in New Zealand.

Apa Hutt of Creeps Record Parlour in Wellington told RNZ Nights that compact discs and other antiquated forms of media were "slowly" coming back.

He said the sheer cost of vinyl was a big factor, and something like a Wu-Tang Clan album might have risen by price by 50 percent in the past few years, while a Taylor Swift record could reach $80-$120.

"Kids can't afford that, but they still want music, they still want to collect things.

"I know that Spotify is really huge with young people, but humans love owning things, and the next option is the cheap option that is CDs."

He noted that many young people had some sort of gaming console that still played CDs.

Creeps Record Parlour deals in second hand CDs, with many selling for about $5, going up to $30 for things like 1980s post punk, or obscure jazz CDs that are hard to find.

Hutt said CDs by huge artists like Radiohead or Foo Fighters go for about $10-$15, because "there's loads of it", but they would go for three times that price on vinyl.

He said there was also some value in VHS tapes, and it wasn't just collectors paying for them. 

"Kids are buying them - its really weird. I'll have a copy of Harry Potter or Spider-Man or Toy Story, kids come in and buy it. They buy the cassettes they watched as a kid, they just want to own them."

He said there has always been demand for cult movies on VHS, and some went for big money, especially old horror films.

"That's where the weirdos are willing to spend. That's where it's at."

Tape cassettes might also be a relic of a bygone era of entertainment, but specific tapes by artists like AC/DC or Kraftwerk could still fetch hundreds.