Though What.CD has always embraced CD and vinyl rips, we have been more wary of cassette rips. For this reason, for as long as cassettes have been allowed on the site, they have been subject to a strict pre-approval process that occupies a great deal of both staff and uploader time. However, our users have shown themselves to be more than capable of producing quality cassette rips, and we no longer feel this process is necessary.

So, as of this announcement, users who wish to upload cassettes will no longer be subject to the pre-approval process. Like vinyl rips, they can be uploaded freely and user-reported if they fail to meet our quality standards. The rules have also changed to allow uploading of cassette releases not currently on What.CD in any other media, rather than only those releases only ever released on cassette.

The full rules are incorporated into the
cassette rules, 2.10. There are more examples and specifics there, but here is an overview:

2.10.1. Cassettes are allowed under strict conditions. "Cassettes" include compact cassettes, 8-track tape cartridges, and non-cassette consumer reel-to-reel audio tape recordings.

This broadens the definition of cassette to include all three popular analogue audio tape formats, though the word "cassette" will be used to describe this medium, as the overwhelming majority of such releases on What.CD will be sourced from compact cassette. Cassette releases may not be uploaded if the release exists on the site in any other format.

This is a major change which makes deciding whether a cassette may be uploaded easier for both users and staff: If it's not here, it's fair game. Rips must be made from official (e.g., artist- or label-approved) cassette sources; secondhand copies are prohibited. Bootlegs are often secondhand copies and may be deleted outright if they do not meet high quality audio standards.

No scrubs dubs!

2.10.2. All cassette rips should include clear information about lineage.

By requiring a lineage, this puts cassette uploads on par with vinyl uploads. It is also recommended to include a photo of the cassette and artwork as part of this lineage, if possible. Uploads without a clear accurate lineage may be trumped by those which do.

2.10.3. Cassettes uploads must be ripped at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz and 88.2 kHz or 96 kHz.

The frequency response of compact cassettes is lower than CD and vinyl. It is not as low as many of us who listened to cheap dubs on cheap equipment may have suspected. There is, however, a limit even on the best cassette decks and Type IV cassettes, which in ideal situations can approach the frequency response of CD. To that end, we are not allowing sampling rates above 96 kHz. 16-bit 48 kHz rips should be sufficient for all but the highest-quality tape.

2.10.4. Cassette rips will be trumped by an upload of the same release in any other medium. A cassette edition with bonus tracks not available in another edition is not subject to trumping.

2.10.5. Cassette rips are subject to the duplicates and trump rules outlined in ↑_ 2.2.

2.10.6. Cassette rips can be trumped if a substantially better-sounding version is uploaded. ... All quality trumps/deletions of this nature are at the discretion of the moderator involved.

2.10.7. Cassette rips of extremely poor quality (lossy or lossless) may be deleted outright if reported. All quality trumps/deletions of this nature are at the discretion of the moderator involved.

2.10.8. Exceptions to any of the above rules may be made at a moderator's discretion. Please contact staff before uploading with detailed reasons why such an exception should be considered.

The rules are going to cover the vast majority of questions about new tape uploads, but we anticipate that there may be a case to be made for certain unusual exceptions. These will be handled on a case-by-case basis the way all cassette uploads were previously handled.

Please read the full
cassette rules for more details.

Ripping cassettes is a bit more detailed than ripping CDs, but fortunately there is a
cassette ripping wiki.

Note: We have also made minor changes to the wording of the Soundboard lineage rulesówhich reference cassettesóbut the rules themselves remain in place. Moderator approval is still required for soundboards with third generation tapes.

Thanks to
michael_azazel for the cassette Rippy.

Update: The "Cassette Approved" flag will be removed for most torrents. It will continue to be used for torrents which are exceptions or special cases, such as the 8-track release of Pink Floyd's
Animals, where the album is available on another format but contains unique content.