Inspired by Wired, Tech (No) Logic is a new column on DiS. With each instalment, the site’s founder Sean Adams will examine an area of the industry not keeping pace with progression, but instigating and informing it; guest contributors will also lend us their opinions and knowledge. Here, Sean begins by profiling Muxtape.com, and celebrating it with tapes compiled by some of DiS's favourite independent labels.
What is Muxtape.com?
It’s a site which allows you to create and share your own mixtape, digitally streaming on the internet. It’s that simple.
The site, founded by Justin Ouellette, only launched in March but already has already had over 100,000 "mix tapes" uploaded to it. Within days of launching the site exploded, exciting us online folks of a geekier music persuasion. The site's success is partly down to its sleek simplicity and a new generation's interpretation of the age-old fascination with making mixtapes for others. It’s by far one of my favourite sites this year, and the speed with which it's popularity grew is a fascinating symptom of these fast moving times.
Just look how quickly it took off:
However, it has to be said the site sits in the same kind of legal grey-area as MP3 blogs and anywhere else you can disseminate and hear music where the artist doesn’t actually get paid, although free-culture evangelists will chirp in with stats about people buying more records, gig tickets, and merchandise because of services like this. But with the corporate side of the music industry often pretty miffed by sites like Muxtape.com, it could very well end up being shut down in the future (although legal proceedings usually take about a year to get moving). Hopefully it’ll find a way to continue, allowing people to embrace this exciting technology, allowing people to turn others on to the music they love.
Sounds good, but how do I create a Muxtape?
Basically, you spend hours following in the footsteps of C90 forefathers, crouched over your screen like some kind of hunchbacked High Fidelity all-star, creating the playlist to end all playlists.
If you've never made a mixtape before – as if – the aim is undoubtedly to show off to the world (or to woo one "special" person) just how incredible your music taste is. Load up the website Muxtape.com and upload MP3 files; stick them in order and post the link to your "tape" on messageboards and in e-mails, scrawl it on the wall of your local venue, or wherever you please. People can also view "mix tapes" at random via the site.
To show off just how great this site is for sharing the music you love, I asked five of my favourite labels to spend half an hour putting together a ‘tape’, including best bits of the year so far, some things each has forthcoming and a few extras. If you like anything you hear, go grab more by the acts in question, and in much higher quality, from digital stores or in tangible form from your local record emporium.
Arts & Crafts
In conclusion, this site is offering people the ability to do something which record stores and streaming sites just can't (because of legal restrictions). Muxtape.com delivers a really simple to use solution until the music business figures out how a site like this, which lets enthusiasm and love run wild, be monetized so that the artists, labels, and publishers all get paid for the use of their music. Until then we expect this site will continue to run as a server-pounding labour of love, in defiance of The Man, with some huge company sweeping in when it reaches half a million users a day. We suspect if you could allow people to pay a donation to make their mixes, or pay a premium for them to be created free-from-advertising (or at a higher bit-rate), then this site could be a very viable and successful business.
Coming next to the Tech (No) Logic column… features about Cassette from My Ex, the Black Cab Sessions, and lots more. If you have a suggestion for something web or tech-like that you'd like to see in this column in the future, post it as a comment below or send me a note via my staff profile.
DiScuss: What do you think of Muxtape.com? Do you prefer Mixwit, Seeqpod.com or Project Playlist? Would you rather just make a blog post with YouTubes and yousendit links? Found any great mixes randomly on the site? Can anything top a cassette and hand -written letter in the post? Which of these label samplers is your favourite? What’s on your ‘tape’? Post your links below...