Technology and culture do not progress on a linear timeline

The idea of something being “old-school”, “retro” or even “cyberpunk”, exists because we attach a feeling of nostalgia to it. I’ve been fascinated recently by this because culture sometimes reaches back in time to (re) experience something, or at other times might even be ahead of its time!


Last month Taylor Swift released her latest album Midnights with the usual fanfare, highly anticipated by fans and critics. Many things were written and said about the promotional cycle, which leveraged TikTok and cutting-edge features on Spotify like little explainer videos for each song.

Something else stood out for me though, which were these plastic things:

Midnights: Moonstone Blue Edition Cassette

My kids will look at me weird if I explain these little rolls of tape in these plastic containers, but it probably makes sense for a significant amount of Swifties out there. What’s cooler than playing the latest Taylor Swift album in your Sony Walkman?

The audio quality won’t be as good though. Nor will skipping to track number 6. It’s culture though!



Another example is this recent album drop by the UK band SAULT:

SAULT drops five new albums. If you can guess the password!

The band shared a WeTransfer link (expired) on social media, but fans needed to guess the password in order to download it. Fittingly, the password was “godislove”, which was eagerly shared it in the comments on Instagram and Twitter.

In 2022, releasing your album(s) as downloadable mp3s is pretty old-fashioned, but very nostalgic! Not all fans agreed, some had forgotten how mp3s even work:

I thought this was an interesting demonstration of the 2022 streaming generation.

Categorized as Blog

By Roel

Roel is a senior product manager at Spotify. He loves internet quirks, baking, running and tech.