Los Angeles mail order catalog Pack Central may have found the last untapped pocket of consumers willing to pay retail for their music on physical formats—the cellblocks of our great nation's prisons. And not just any format—turns out, music on cassette is the only way to get tunes that isn't screened out as a potential deadly weapon. Wait, they still sell new music on cassettes?
Apparently so. Weezy's "Tha Carter III," Usher's "Here I Stand" and Mariah Carey's "E=MC2" are all among Pack Central's current best selling tapes. If you're man enough to rock the new Mariah Carey on cassette in the slammer, my hat's off to you—I only feel comfortable singling you out from the safe confines of the internet.
Anyway, CDs are apparently too easy to splinter into a shiv (for disciplining the dude who laughed at your Mariah tapes), and the company even has to remove the metal screws from their tapes before shipping them out to get by the screeners (you guys make a good point below, though—I guess the cassette shivs are not as worrisome). The guy who keeps all those 20-year-old Walkmen in operating condition must be swimming in bartered cigarettes. [NYTimes, image tapedeck.org]