Mixtapes – A Hobby That Just Won’t Quit

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Back in the day of the cassette tape, making mixtapes was one of my favorite pastimes. I made them for friends. Friends made them for me. The Gotham Gal and I still have a whole drawer full of tapes we made for each other. We keep them at our house at the beach and every now and then we go on a nostalgia binge and play them all day to our kids dismay.

Then the age the CD arrived and the cassette deck got used less and less. Sure you could rip the songs off the CD and burn them onto a mix CD. I’ve done that a bunch as have my kids, but honestly it never was as much fun for me.

The web is the new mixtape medium. There have been widgets for some time now that allow people to build mixes. The most successful have been imeem and project playlist. Both seem to have gotten a bit tired as of late but still have large audiences as this compete chart shows

I’ve made several imeem playlists and posted them on this blog. I made one projectplaylist mix when Lindsay told me I had to give Bjork a chance. But neither of these services really made it into my routine music habits the way last.fm, hypemachine, and tumblr have.

Now we have a new wave of mixtape services hitting the scene. I played around with two in the past day called muxtape and mixwit. Muxtape is like imeem in that you have to upload songs from your library to create your mix. Mixwit is like projectplaylist in that you search the internet for the tracks you want and add them. I vastly prefer the latter approach. It’s faster and more fun.

Muxtape, however, makes up for the harder work with its elegance and simplicity. Here’s a link to my muxtape. Muxtape takes it’s inspiration from services like tumblr. It’s a minimlaist music blogging service that just happens to function as a playlist, like tumblr’s audio only dashboard should.

Mixwit is much more like imeem and projectplaylist. It creates widgets you can post anywhere you like. Here’s my first mixwit widget which I built in about 30 seconds.

Of course the question is what is the business model for all of these mixtape services. imeem and projectplaylist have been forced to license the music from the rights holders and now face large royalty costs which they are funding with advertising, largely banner and CPA for now. I suspect (and hope because of our investment in targetspot) that they will also try an occasional 15 or 30 second audio ad in their streams.

If muxtape or mixwit get big, like imeem and projectplaylist have, they’ll have to face the same issues. For now, it’s just about building out the service and letting us all share music. Which continues to be one of my favorite pastimes and the web has certainly made it so much easier.