These are covers of a representative sample of North Indian commercial cassettes from the years around 1990.
As discussed in my 1993 book Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India,
the advent of cassettes in the 1980s revolutionized the Indian music industry, ending the monopoly of HMV
and the tiny coterie of Bollywood music producers and singers, and enabling the emergence of several hundred cassette producers,
large and small, marketing an unprecedented variety of musics for diverse audiences, in diverse regional styles and languages.
The cassettes shown here include playfully ribald compilations, narrative folk ballads, devotional songs, and regional folk music
(e.g., from Rajasthan, Goa, and the Braj region).
Peter Manuel, ethnomusicology professor at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, has published extensively on various aspects
of North Indian music and Indo-Caribbean music. Excerpts of his documentary videos Tassa Thunder: Folk Music from India to the
Caribbean, and East Indian Music in the West Indies can be viewed on YouTube.
North Indian Cassette covers
Some amazing graphics from Indian popular music cassetes. From the collection of Pater Manuel.