Methods of marking / presenting tape releases...

Started by MyrtleLake, September 29, 2018, 02:51:25 AM

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Labels and artists have various media and physical formats in which to present their work. I have my preferences as a listener. The artists / labels have theirs; that's well and good—no requirement for me to dictate. Choosing to release a physical format with tangible art is understood as well. So...

Why do so many tape releases go out of their way to obscure, for example, labeling? I have been accumulating a surprising number of releases with no identification on the tape itself whatsoever. Some with nothing at all. It obscures identifying one side from another. This, though the j-cards will list side A and side B with multiple song titles for each. Why bother? I can't distinguish one side from the other. Each has three songs.

Another example. A cassette that only has "ASX" hand lettered in silver sharpie. Credit to a member here who could correctly identify that one from only that information.

Or the one I received today: a three artist compilation on three cassettes. Each of the three cassettes have ripped, printed copies of (?) pasted to them. My best guess is that because one cassette has two scraps, another three scraps and the last four scraps—the one with two scraps is side A? ...on the side with the scraps instead of the other? I assume so.

I really am primarily interested in the music itself. Intermittently, but rare, the cassette-as-object-consumerist-angle has any import. So... meh. Okay.

Do these artists who (presumably) have an interest in their music really want a label causing the listener to misconstrue what you created with some other artist? Or misidentify your titles? Or, for whatever reason, find a tape separated from its case / bag and be unable to identify it in the future? Seems weird to me to be released by any label at all if you don't care about any of those things. Is it unwarranted for me to deem the practice as disingenuous?

Please school me on the above. I'm open to criticism and / or another perspective to further inform mine.



Not many of the cassette cases I receive aren't the welded plastic type. That's a good fact to point out, though. Having had a release break off it's roller at the end of play before, I really appreciate the ones with screws rather than molded solid. That one that broke had to be physically broken apart to get the roll out—spliced the leader to a sacrificial roll from another empty cassette and case. Because the new, sacrificial cassette had screws, assemble and back in business. I can't say if the tape inside is better or not, but I've considered the screw-assembled cassettes higher quality since that incident.


I understand your frustration about this. With my label I try to either have on shell printing or have at least one sticker on the tape shell to show which is the A side.


I guess the idea is basically that most consumers of physical format are often kind of respectful towards the physical object or even "collector" type people. So I guess many labels just find it a bit unlikely that the tapes will be constantly separated from the case for a longer time. Therefore, many don't have the name and album on the actual tape - at least that's my guess.

Not marking at least the A Side is a bit irritating to me too.


I would say for Artwork Properties. E.C Tapes were made under that Aspect. CDs could count as well. Cervical Smear is plain White cause of this reason. The Package have often a relation to the Music



This used to be something that bothered me. Unmarked CDrs with no artwork, tapes with no info, records with no a or b side markings etc. But now I kind of enjoy it. It forces me to either - remember what the fuck it was that I've bought, or to simply enjoy the music.

I do this with my label. All, bar 2 or 3 releases, have had no info on them. The name doesn't matter. Just listen to it. Is that being needlessly difficult or hurting an artist? Perhaps - but then I mainly release my own music/my friends music and usually sell to local people/friends as well anyway.

I completely understand the frustration, but IMO, don't sweat it.