back to the future
National Audio Co. is the only company in the U.S. that produces cassette tape. Now, as cassette tapes enjoy a resurgence in popularity, National Audio has less than a year's supply left of the stuff, The Wall Street Journal reports.
For the last 15 years, National Audio's co-owner and president Steve Stepp has been clinging to his company's dwindling supply of music-quality magnetic tape. In 2014, National Audio's South Korean supplier stopped making the material, so Stepp bought out their remaining stock before they shuttered — and has been left with a shrinking stockpile ever since.
Although the demand for tape has increased in recent years, the quality and supply has not; National Audio has long relied on outdated gear that Stepp jokes is "the finest equipment the 1960s has to offer." That's why the company — which makes cassettes for everyone from indie bands to Metallica — is planning to build the U.S.'s first high-grade tape manufacturing line in decades. The hope is that by January, their plant in Springfield, Missouri, will produce nearly 4 miles of tape per minute, and that they can sell the first cassettes with U.S.-made tape shortly thereafter.
Stepp believes that the creation of a new manufacturing line for tape will produce "the best tape ever made." "People will hear a whole new product," he says. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.