Guardians of the Galaxy save the cassette tape format, as well as the world

Contributed by
Jan 6, 2018

Everyone knows Peter Quill’s mother gave birth to the Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt in Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy film series) before her untimely death at the hands of his father, Ego. What you might not know is that Meredith Quill is also the mother of something else awesome: a sweeping rebirth of interest in cassette tapes.

Meredith Quill, a 1980s living mama with a late '70s sensibility, used cassette mixtapes to show her love for her half-alien son, and that motherly ardor spawned not one but three Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack releases on cassette. Their role in the films as Quill’s Marvin Gaye and Fleetwood Mac-inflected last lifeline to Earth seemed to really make viewers miss the days of rewind and fast forward. According to Nielsen Music figures, last year cassette tape sales spiked 35%, with 22% of total sales from just the GoG cassettes alone. (And, likewise, in 2016 cassette sales grew 74% from the previous year, led then by Guardians, Vol. 1 as well.) 

The mixtape that started it all. 

 

In fact, 2017 sales of the three Guardians tapes (Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Mix Vol. 1) combined total more cassette tape sales than the entire music industry had in 2009, 2010, or 2011. As Led Zeppelin might say to Quill on a future mixtape, that’s a whole lotta love.

It’s also worth noting that ’80s nostalgia helped round out the Nielsen’s Top Ten cassette sales list in other ways as well: the Strangers Things soundtrack came in at number 4, and the number 7 spot went to another otherworldly ’80s phenomenon: Prince’s Purple Rain.

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