To end the polemic regarding Tapes sold on the DRAKKAR webshop
All Tapes/ cassettes sold on the DRAKKAR webshop are official/ originals.
Brief history of cassette distribution & the underground from the early '90s to today:
The distinction between pro-tapes and underground cassettes/ tapes is the same made between "Magazines" (wide distribution in stores and professionaly printed i.e. TERRORIZER, METALMANIACS etc...) and "Zines" (Photocopied home-made magazine distributed among the "initiated" to the genre). The underground vs Mainstream = Mainstream (see EMI, Sony, Capitol records) is that which is widely distributed with code bars to facilitate distribution; which benefits of large budgets for promotion/ marketing with the intent of reaching a large public etc...
Before, CDs existed, music was sold either on Vinyl or Tape/ Cassette format.
Anyone with the intention of starting a label, releasing audio material from unknown bands with no real budget to work with had no other choice than to buy a bunch of tapes at your local supermarket (fairly cheap TDK, Sony BASF...), most probably using the old fashion cut & paste techniques, to make a master cover which was then photocopied and folded together and inserted with the home dubbed cassette. Unbelievable but true, computer assisted graphic designing was inaccessible to most: no Photoshop; computers & home printers were expensive...
CDs or laser discs soon became the prefered format for all Music Majors but remained expensive to produce and therefore inaccessible for any individual with a small budget underground label. In fact, at one point it was cheaper to buy vinyl than it was to buy CDs. The risk (financial also) taken in supporting an unknown band also characterizes the underground label as opposed to Main stream labels/ Majors (concerned with a return on investment + making money as any capitalist activity would).
Prices in CD manufacturing seriously started to drop only in the late '90s early 2000. And it's because CD manufacturing became so cheap that underground labels progressively abandoned home-dubbed cassettes with photo-copied covers. CDs today are now far cheaper in production than vinyl especialy now that there are few plants manufacturing vinyl (when demand is high for vinyl and yet few plants to meet demands, prices go up, which was the case for CD production in the early '90s and now the case for tapes).
Few nostalgics of that era still support the home-dubbed tradition but favoured professionaly printed covers to avoid bootleg photo copying of covers proliferating on Ebay and the likes...
DRAKKAR still produces these pro-cover tapes out of tradition and because it's a format we are accustomed to having grown up with it.
Now how does a label like DRAKKAR handle tapes? Well in the last few years, we buy large stocks of blank tapes/ cassettes from a manufacturer in the UK (no brand, crystal clear tapes) because the TDKs or Sony BASFs have pretty much dissapeared from local supermarkets replaced by MP3 players and CDRs/DVDRs. We have a huge stock that consists largely of pro-covers, quite a few professionaly manufactured tapes and some photo-copy covers from way back when (some from as early as '95 because they simply didn't sell...). I've heard some complain about the prices of tapes... well professionaly manufactured tapes are expensive because manufacturing costs are so hign. Other tapes because blank tapes are hard to come by and therefore expensive. DRAKKAR has sadly never been fortunate enough to invest in a professional dubbing system allowing us to dub at home more than 1 tape at once. So dubbing is obviously painful and requires time (we usually need quite a bit of time to process any tape order). In other words, our offer of 5 tapes = 20euros (only available on 5euro tapes) is actually a really good deal if not at times a loss for us.
How does DRAKKAR acquire tapes from other labels: a label will supply us with pro-printed covers and an audio master provided on CDR and from there if you can get a hold of some blank tapes, you can simply dub the audio from CDR to tape, fold the cover and insert with the tape. Again, this is a very painful task which is why we are contemplating professionaly manufacturing tapes for futur releases. In the meantime, and until we can get rid of our stocks of professionaly printed covers + until our stereo allows us to dub to tape (Yes these stereos are now obsolete and are very little manufactured and therefore hard to come by), we will keep providing these "home-dubbed" tapes.
Pro-tape = manufactured tape (dubbed at factory) w/ professionally printed cover and factory sealed (such as CDs are factory pressed).
Pro-cover tape = Professionnaly printed cover but tape/ cassette is "home" dubbed. First home dubbed tapes/ cassettes were dubbed from tape to tape and then when CDRs became financialy accessible and stereos manufactured made it possible to dub from CDR to Tape.
Other tapes/ cassettes simply have a photo-copied cover and are "home" dubbed.
Tape LP = full album, fairly well recorded, "mature" structuraly well composed music.
Demo = as in demonstration, recorded with little means but with the intention of demonstrating the potential of the band and win support from a label or public.
Anyway, I hope this was clear enough, I apologize for spelling mistakes, but was in a hurry to clear any misunderstanding regarding DRAKKAR.