Not too long ago you could express your love for a girl by making her a mix tape. Putting together a mix tape (which, over the decades, would evolve into illegal file sharing) involved hand-picking your favorite songs from your collection of albums and recording them one at a time onto a cassette tape...while you crossed your fingers that they’d all fit onto that C90.
A new company, Mixaloo, now brings back the art of the mix tape, but remixed to 21st century standards. The site has a music library of 3 million songs, supplied by all the major labels and the top indies. Users trawl through the tracks to create their digital mix tapes, allowing them to title their mixes, and even choose the cover art. They then post the mix on the most popular social networking sites, or email it to their friends. If you like what you hear, you can buy the digital mix for 99 cents a track.
While the compilations will only feature 30-second snippets of the tracks, the creator of the mix splits the profits of the digital sales of the music 50/50 with Mixaloo, and users earn points that can be exchanged for merchandise.
I don’t know about you; I have…mixed feelings about this. The wonderful thing about mix tapes was that they were such a labor of love (no friend of mine has ever charged me for a mix tape!). But it does demonstrate the ever-growing viability of sites dedicated to music discovery and sharing – like Last.fm, which was bought by CBS last May for $280 million.