Mixtapes are more than just another way of saying, “Hey girl, I like you.” They can be a concerto written for one single person, or a useful resource for a band approaching a new recording. And as John Cusack clearly explains, they can be a very powerful linguistic tool for sending just the right message (if you follow the rules, of course…).
For me, mixtapes are uniquely nostalgic. When I listen to a past mixtape that either I’ve made for someone, or they’ve made for me, I am reminded of specific times in my life, specific places and people that have had an effect on me. In essence, mixtapes tell the stories of our lives. So with that in mind, here are four really wonderful ways that the Internet can help you create, share and even receive your very own mixtapes!
TheMIXTAPE.net is a simple, yet heartfelt project created by Chris Caulder, who writes one of our favorite personal recording blogs out there. The premise is easy and enjoyable, and it’s as much an experiment for him as it is for you. You email him a list of five artists you like, and your current mood, and he sculpts a personal mixtape around that information just for you! When I asked Chris about the inspiration for the website, he told me:
“I have felt that the internet these days is so…. impersonal. Social networking is an absolute oxymoron. There’s nothing social about “‘liking’ pages and politely declining invites for events, and living your entire life on your phone and taking a ton of selfies. So, my hope for the site was just to connect more people through music.”
Chris is someone who loves a good challenge, so I sent him my own list of preferred artists and here’s what he came up with. Thanks Chris!
2. The Music Map
The Music Map is a search-based artist discovery tool that lets you choose any artist, and it will auto-generate a list of associative acts. It was created by German developer Marek Gibney who is perpetually on a mission to build the best discovery tools for everything. The Music Map helps you fill in the gaps of your mixtape with other artists and bands that sound similar to the ones you’ve already included. It maps influence and association based on crowdsourced data, linking artists together on a grid, and it’s a ton of fun to play around with! Try it for yourself.
8tracks is a super well built platform for playlist sharing, based on the overall design and feel of Mixcloud but slightly more social. You have access to millions of users’ playlists for inspiration, and you can plop yours right into a uniquely vibrant community of mixtapers with ease. We use it as an office radio station sometimes. Plus, this app is super mobile-friendly and even works on your Xbox!
Here’s one playlist that we came across that we fell in love with:
Opentape is a free, open-source code package that enables users to upload and host their own mixtapes online. Once you’ve found the just the right selection of songs to communicate your nostalgia, use Opentape to share your mixes in a customizable and embeddable player on your own website.
We’ve mentioned Gnoosic before, it is yet another project by The Global Network of Discovery, and yet another free and fun way to discover artists that you could potentially fall in love with, but it’s structured differently for the user. Here you type in three artists that you love, and it will suggest an endless stream of others that it predicts you might like. It’s kind of like a silly way to have a conversation about music with a robot.
Got a special mixtape that’s coming together? Post it to 8tracks, SoundCloud or Mixcloud and send us the link! We’d love to hear them!