As someone who not only still owns LPs, but occasionally purchases more, I was tickled to see a post in the Dominican blog EnSegundos.net about how the cassette has not quite kicked the bucket yet (thanks to remolacha for the tip).
Around Santo Domingo's Parque Enriquillo, vendors report sales of between 50 and 100 daily, which may not seem like much, especially in a city of 2.2 million, but is pretty amazing in the digital music age.
I have not visited that park in years, but in the 1990s, Parque Enriquillo was an amazing bazaar of things you didn't know you wanted: used sneakers, pieces of pipe, and the first place I saw one of those brilliant only-in-the-Third World moneymakers: "Pésese por un peso" (get weighed for a peso), basically a guy with a bathroom scale on the sidewalk.
The reason for the cassette's survival? According to the vendors, they're bought by poor people who can't yet afford a CD player. Because the park is near a big transportation hub, it's a convenient spot for people coming in from the provinces and going to the more marginal areas of the city. The going rate for cassettes is RD$35-$50 (about $1-$1.50). And it's not just old music, either: some of the more popular artists are bachata and merengue stars like Anthony Santos, Tulile, Camilo Sexto, Aramis Camilo, Frankie Ruiz and Alex Bueno.
Santo Domingo is not unique in preserving cassettes. Turkey still sells 88 million cassettes a year, India 80 million, accounting for 50% of recorded material sales in these countries.
It's a pretty durable technology. I still own a mixed tape my high school boyfriend made for my 16th birthday and it still sounds pretty good. (I'll leave it to those of you in the know to do the math on how old the cassette is.)
[images via flickr and ensegundos.net]