Mixtapes - A Hobby That Just Won't Quit

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.

#My Music#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. RacerRick

    Muxtape’s ease/simplicity is quite beautiful.

  2. Howard

    Muxtape is a great idea executed with everything you need and nothing more. Love when that happens.What’s better…I went to your muxtape and really liked the Mike Doughty song (had not heard of him before) and just bought the album. While the record companies continue to balk at the free sharing and rights issues of all of these services … I hope they see this as even more proof as to how this free sharing is the most powerful (and free) marketing they can ever get AND that is it does funnel to their cash account.

    1. fredwilson

      Mike Doughty is a very talented guy.He’s playing in NYC soon.I am going to take the whole family and we’ll sing along to every songFred

  3. Mark Schoneveld

    I love muxtape… elegant and simple! Here’s mine: yvynyl.muxtape.com

  4. Gregg Smith

    Muxtape is so good. However, it’s obviously getting hammered right now.(edited for really, really poor grammar)

  5. Joe Lazarus

    Muxtape is beautiful in it’s simplicity, though I agree that it might be even easier to add songs that are already on the web rather than having to upload (a la Mixwit). I tried to combine those two things with a hack I built a few weeks ago…http://joelaz.com/post/2813…Unfortunately, I don’t have the programming skills to turn that into a real, elegant product like Muxtape, but I think the concept is directionally right. When I want to add songs to my music blog, I just click the “love” button in Audioscrobbler through iTunes and the hack finds an MP3 from the web and submits it to my site for me in the background.Fred, do you know what the latest legal policy is with regards to linking to MP3’s that are hosted on other sites? Would Muxtape be legal if it somehow just linked to all the songs you wanted on your mix without hosting the files on Muxtape.com? Would the Hype Machine be entirely legal if they just linked to tracks on music blogs and let you play them on HypeM.com, but without hosting the MP3s? I assume that’s a grey area.

    1. vincentvw

      I’d also like to know what the legal situation is with this. I’d love to publish playlists on my blog, but I’m afraid to be sued into oblivion. How do you do it, Fred?

      1. vincentvw

        Nevermind, I saw how Mixwit does it. Searching the web enters the grey area, but does make life for users a lot easier.

      2. fredwilson

        I take that risk

  6. Alex

    very cool…….. I cracking up at the title of the song!

  7. Michael Christoff

    Good Close out with not ready yet, Fred. This is probably the best part of my job… listening to all these rad mixes while we roll out new features.Really enjoying muxtape’s simple and elegant design. As an avid tumblr user myself, it is certainly appreciated.Over here at Mixwit, we have a bit of different strategy. We’ve created this awesome way for people to create and share mixtapes in a really personalized way, but we see that as just a start for us. What we’re really building is a platform mashups, where users can take media from around the web and use it to create amazing things.-Mike

  8. Gabriel Nijmeh

    Sweet stuff… takes me back to those days with our dual tape deck, radios and vinyl records. We would create all kinds of crazy mixtapes that we would pass around school. Hours and hours were spent…My kids won’t believe me when I have to explain what we had to do to make our mixtapes back in them olden days!! I can already see the “you gotta be kidding” look on their faces.BTW, good taste in tunes!! Mike Doughty writes some great music… check out his work with Soul Coughing.And Vampire Weekend… the most talked about and possibly over-hyped band of the year… but you know what, the music is pretty original and catchy.

  9. vincentvw

    Thanks, I discovered a new band through your mix. Love MGMT!

  10. suesol

    thanks for this info: love mixwit. definitely more fun. but naturally, had to try each: http://suesol.typepad.com/m

  11. Scott

    I still think Imeem is a superior mixtape or playlist service. these guys do a find job of using it: http://www.fakedjs.com

  12. jackson

    For me, the mixtape was about the mix, the segues, the flow. I don’t think you can put together a proper mix without hearing the tunes. It’s much easier to compile a bunch of songs these days, certainly quicker, but the quality, again, is cheapened by the method. In the end, it’s a compilation, not a mix.

    1. fredwilson

      Not sure I agree completey jacksonI know every one of the songs I put on those mixesI selected them in the same way I’d select a song when it was vinyl to tapeBut it was easier to do and took me less time so I’ll make more mixesAnd this way I can share with thousands not dozensFred

  13. nickdavis

    Loving MixWit……Check out my mix:http://www.nickdavis.com/Ra…Ra Ra Apollo – Spring MixTrack List:The Polyphonic Spree – Light and Day/Reach for the SunRaconteurs – Yellow SunRilo Kiley – Hail To Whatever you FoundMike Doughty- Fort HoodTilly and the Wall – Love SongBelle and Sebastian – Song for SunshineMatt Costa – SunshineThe Elected – Sun Sun SunGreat Lake Swimmers, I Will never see the sunSuper Furry Animals – Hello SunshineIron & Wine – Sunset Soon ForgottenThe Polyphonic Spree – It’s the Sun

    1. fredwilson

      SweetI need to be able to put mixwit on my iPodThis is the perfect spring bike ride mix which I will happily be doingtomorrowfred

  14. Beth

    I’ll be at the Highline singing along too this Friday. I made a mixwit tape for the friends I’m going with (they’re not familiar with him). Here’s the link:http://www.mixwit.com/widge…The selection of his songs that were available on mixwit was somewhat limited. I haven’t checked out muxtape yet– does it offer more selections?

    1. fredwilson

      BethI listened to your mixwit yesterday. Loved it. But then again, I love mikedoughty so a mike mix is always going to be greatfred

  15. matt

    Fred — Compete releases its updated data on social network growth this afternoon — I’ll send you a link; it will have a big change in how imeem looks on this chart.matt

  16. BayPay

    re: searching for tracks vs uploading tracks”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.”You appear to be unaway that on imeem you can add any music that any other user has uploaded to your playlist, I think there must be something like 5 million tracks on there by now.Basicly both mixwit and muxtape compare poorly to imeem or projectplaylist, if these guys can get funded by VC’s I’ve got a social network that they might want to fund.

  17. jimmy I

    i agree most of this is just compilations. i have been to thatcrack.com i frequent them alot they are up to the minute with new free mixtape downloads. mixwit and mixwup are just cheap gadgets that are just that gadgets

  18. Aimee Grace Webb

    I used to make mix tapes it seemed easier then burning a cd which gets frustrating if the burn wont complete and you waste a cd trying I love last.fm and blip.fm and have an account with most of the other music sharing sites you mentioned that i don’t visit that much… I will definitely have to check out muxtape or mixwit

  19. fredwilson