James Gunn Celebrates Almost Single-Handedly Making a Dead Medium Relevant for the First Time in a Long Time

Filmmaker James Gunn has ushered in a renaissance for a vintage music format with the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

The DC Studios boss proudly took to Threads to share the news that the masterfully curated collection of songs for the film has jumped ten places to become the third top-selling audio cassette tape.

Originating in Germany, magnetic tape recording technology began gaining traction in the United States following World War II. With the increasing popularity of the format, companies such as RCA Victor, Telefunken, Grundig, Philips, and Sony became dominant players in the market. By 1985, cassette tape sales had surpassed vinyl, reigning as the most popular audio format until the advent of compact discs in 1992. Sales of vinyl, cassettes, and compact discs declined as digital music took over the market.

The release of Guardians of the Galaxy shook up the cassette market in 2014. The demand for Awesome Mix #1 saw ten million tapes produced. Gunn’s hit movie rekindled a dying market as music fans fell in love with the cassette format to the extent that cassette sales increased by 20% in 2015.

Gunn’s simple yet tender portrayal of Star-Lord’s attachment to the Walkman and mixtape he received as a gift from his mother captured viewers’ imaginations and ignited interest in cassettes. The cassette perfectly captures Peter Quill’s quiet longing and serves as a conduit that restores the embrace of his lost love. Unlike a Spotify playlist, there’s something uniquely romantic about cassettes. Perhaps it’s because they are tangible and can be held or carried as subtle symbols of profound bonds.

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