Award details

Mark McIntyre

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier


“In the age of digital supremacy, where an infinite amount of music is available at the click of a button, there has been a resurgence of formerly obsolete musical formats.  Vinyl records, a medium thought to have faded into oblivion when CDs were embraced as the industry standard, have since seen a resurgence among underground music labels and their major label counterparts, selling over 4 million units in 2014.  Physical media in the age of the MP3 is rare, yet both independent and major record labels have embraced the vinyl medium.  Interestingly, in tandem with the vinyl revival, cassette tapes have become the medium of choice for independent bands interested in distributing their music and ideas on the cheap.  While many online platforms allow the free distribution of music, cassette tapes can be found on merchandise tables of independent Victoria bands whose music spans the underground spectrums of folk, punk rock, garage, noise, metal, and indie rock.  This project will seek to understand why Victoria bands, record labels, and consumers prefer the physical medium of the cassette tape in the MP3 era and the importance that cassettes play in Victoria’s underground music communities.

This project’s methodology will consist of a literature review, interviews with bands, labels, record shop owners, and consumers, and deep hanging out at venues where cassettes are bought and sold, namely concerts and record stores.  As this research involves human subjects, I will seek ethics approval from the University of Victoria’s Human Ethics Board.”