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This chapter considers how the self-released cassette contributed to independent rock music and culture, serving as a means of distribution and a symbol of community. Cassette culture emerged in the 1980s as a network of musical outsiders who communicated by mail. As different as cassette artists were, they shared a drive toward immediate and prolific musical output that exceeded the limits of a vinyl-based market. The chapter profiles several cassette labels that thrived, most leaving little evidence of their existence. It also chronicles some of the prominent indie musicians and labels that took up the cassette, signaling a new legitimacy for the format.

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