Serving Time cassette tape

Update: Those many people coming here looking for info on Pack Central--they finally got in touch and Bob Paris, their head burrito, gives his contact info in the comments.

You know, lots of bloggers and how-to-make-money business people hammer on the niche. Find a niche. Find yourself a good niche and then hunker down. Of course, to find a decent niche, you have to get creative. You don't want to think too broadly, because if you aim for too broad a niche you end up with...well, this site. But Pack Central out of Los Angeles has found an excellent niche for where to sell music: prisoners. And sadly in this country he's got a potential customer base of 2.3 million.

And what can he sell to prisoners? Not CDs. Certainly not vinyl. No: cassettes. With the screws removed since they are small and metal and a no-no. But Bob Paris, the owner, has been stockpiling cassettes for about five years. His sales hit about $1 million a year.


I love this quote:

"I have dodged every conventional bullet that has hit most music retailers," Paris says. "I don't have to worry about downloading, legal or illegally. The beauty of it is that prisoners don't have Internet access and never will."

Although if you think about it, some of those people might be in prison for "stealing music." And if that's the case, talk about terrible irony if you go from providing pristine digital bootleg copies of songs to the world to having to mail order cassette tapes. Sounds like the sort of hell the RIAA would like to see all of us burn in, you know?

Anyway, so there you go: what do you do already that you can provide to an audience or customer base that you've overlooked? We tried to do performance art and spoken word poetry for eels. But that was not exactly lucrative. May your brainstorming be better. And, you know, actually utilize a brain.

Also: they also list their top-selling tapes in the original article. For some odd reason, "Folsom Prison Blues" does not appear. And here's another thought that strikes me--and it's probably done the same to you--that big shoebox of tapes that you have tucked away on the top shelf of a closet...I wonder if Pack Central's buying? Perhaps by the pound...

Found via Freakonomics. Image.