The sonic quality was dubious (much like the standard MP3) and they had a propensity to get wound around their own mechanism while being played, yet the cassette tape had many royal followers. Now it appears they are coming back, at least on a limited basis.

The popularity of indie music may be the driving force behind a renewed interest in the often-denigrated cassette recording tape.

A survivor of the 1970s and 1980s, the once ubiquitous cassette tape, which helped replace vinyl recordings and eight-track tapes as the medium of choice for music lovers around the world, may be in for a significant revival.

Indie bands are churning out recordings on the small plastic devices, which once held center stage among music appreciators the world over, but lost market share with the coming of the compact disc. At one time, just about every automobile in America seemed to have a cassette player onboard; dashboard CD players proceeded to take over the market.

Musicians tend to love cassettes because they’re an inexpensive and accessible way to distribute new music on a budget. It’s estimated that cassette distribution is one-tenth the cost of distribution of vinyl recordings.

Vinyl recordings experienced a decline in the 1980s, and cassettes began to take over the market. Their compact size and the fact that you could play them in an automobile stereo made them the format of choice during those times.

Cassettes reached their peak in 1990, just before the CD took over the market; CDs reached their zenith in 2000, only to be replaced by digital downloads.

Cassette album sales are up almost 50 percent over last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to about 22,000 units sold.