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Mixtape Mythology

May 19, 2008

I’ve seen a few blog posts recently about a new site called muxtape. Even my friend mistrust was getting in on the digital mixtape action. I left a comment on one such blog which led to an e-mail from Matt Phillips at the Wall Street Journal, asking questions and continuing the conversation. Of course I didn’t end up reading Matt’s e-mail until a month and a half after he wrote it, so whatever article he was writing is probably old news by now. Nevertheless, after seeing the topic mentioned again on mistrust’s blog, I decided to post my response to Matt. Besides, with all this unicycle training, I haven’t posted about anything music related in a while:

What I loved about mixtapes was the amount of time and dedication it took to piece it together just right. Recording a good one would take hours. I never found it tedious or laborious, it was theraputic. Rarely do we just listen to music these days. With our ipods we can listen to music while riding a bike, working on the computer, washing dishes – it’s become a secondary experience. I think the effort in listening to songs over and over again, fast forward, rewind, how does this song sound after that one, finding the perfect songs with the perfect lyrics and sound to help send your message, it takes a lot of time, and that’s what makes it so important and meaningful. It’s like a gift that’s handmade vs. something storebought.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that 90% of the mixtapes I ever made were for girls, and any that I received myself were also from the opposite sex. Mixtapes were part of the mating ritual. I’ve tried to capture the same ritual with digital music, but burning cd’s has cheapened the whole mixtape experience. We don’t always listen to songs in order anymore. My itunes playlist is always on random. With tapes and vinyl records, you listened to them in order, start to finish, the way the artist intended. Now I don’t know if artists these days even care about that sort of thing anymore, but with mixtapes, I was the artist, and the art was in the order.

I could go on. I’m a bit of an anomaly. I love my ipod and itunes as much as I love my turntable. I buy vinyl records and mp3s and I listen to the radio. I feel dirty when I by a CD, like I’m paying for a cheap one-night stand, a passionate 2 minutes as I rip all the song into my itunes library. Then the CD goes back in its case, back on the shelf, never to be called again.

What do you think of mixtapes then and now?
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2 comments

  1. Thanks for the mention! I’ve read somewhere that sales of vinyl records are actually on the up again, so maybe the mixtape will make a comeback soon! Also, I’ve got a load of mixtapes I made in the 80s and 90s that still play ok (I’ve only got a cassette player in my car, so all I can play is tapes).


  2. i agree it takes hours to make a good mixtape if the dj is into his craft. and alot of mixtape i have made were for girls, you could express yourself thru the mix. We have a new site called thatcrack.com that is full of free mixtapes for download. it is updated daily, and you can submit to the site if you have a quality mixtape you want to share with the world. stop by and check it out. if you are feeling the site then link us with one of our link logos,,



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