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This chapter considers the cassette's contribution to the careers of independent rock musicians in relation to the music industry's favored formats. Although cassette releases helped launch many indie careers, they most often were understood as promotional instruments. Musicians valued the cassette's egalitarianism and accessibility, yet to get stocked in record stores and played on radio stations they had to release music on vinyl or CD. Whatever its shortcomings, the cassette sold better than any other format in the late 1980s and retained a symbolic currency within indie culture. The chapter discusses prominent indie artists whose early cassette releases took on legendary status as well as reclusive visionaries for whom the cassette remained the format of choice.

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