cool tapes i find and cassette related equipment.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

i started a cassette label for 150 dollars

i started putting out cassettes for a 150 dollar investment. {though you could conceivably do it for near zero.} here's what i did:
here is the small weirdo cassette label i run out of my kitchen, well i guess it's really the dining room.
i had an experimental banjo/electronics cd that i was putting out on my own, called barnyard electronics. it was recorded at home for zero cost. i bartered out the mastering, though now i do my own mastering, but at the time, i played banjo on a guys record, in exchange for the mastering. so i just sent the cd to a very good tape duplication place that i found with lots of research, and got 100 copies on tape with the clear/black plastic cases at my door in just a few weeks. i hand drew some covers, which was a lot of fun because in a small format you can change and morph the covers at will. so with postage to get them here and printing covers, it was about 150 total. oh and one thing is, it's a real trick to sequence for cassette, i kinda like the A to run all the way to leader, and then you flip and you're at the head of B. hopefully the B runs to leader just in time to flip. if you have never sequenced for the two sides of a physical object like an LP or tape, you'll see what i mean first time you sit down to do it. if you make something specifically for cassette you can keep this in mind, but working from a linear sequence, like off an existing CD, may take some work.
so i started selling them at shows. the profits from that, allowed me to begin making things for some friends of mine. my goal is to keep quality really high, and have a good brand identity where folks can buy other things blind, hopefully if they like one, they'll like the others.  and i like to make the physical item itself feel like a lovingly handmade mixtape from a friend.
but it all started with 150 dollars.
i got my hands on a duplicator from a church. and with that i can do small runs of 10 or 20 or something like that. you can buy blank tapes in exact lengths. in the cassette world, most releases are a finite amount. like 100 sequentially numbered tapes or something. i have one tape from the mole people that is 13 out of only 20 handmade tapes.
with my duplicator i made a batch of mixtapes of artists from my label, which is called minner bucket records, to just give away. it's a bit of a labor of love. however, the return is really good, the creativity is high, and it's an easy and fun activity.
150 bucks. however it could be done for free by scrounging a nest of tape decks that can be strung together to make a duplication system, for free, and by using found tapes. lots of folks have gone this route to great result.