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99% Invisible

Loud and Clear

Sub Pop Records has signed some of the most famous and influential indie bands of the last 30 years, including Nirvana, Sleater-Kinney, The Postal Service, and Beach House. Over time, the stars and hits have changed and the formats have evolved as well, from vinyl to CDs to MP3s. In recent years, however, the label has started releasing new albums on a medium few thought would ever see a comeback: the cassette.
But there’s one big user group that never entirely stopped using the old school technology. The United States prison system has the largest prison population in the world and many of its inmates listen to their music on tape. For this group, cassettes aren’t necessarily the cheapest or hippest way to listen to music; in some cases, it’s the only way.

Loud and Clear

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