Column: The evolution of the mixtape

We are a playlist generation. We have playlists for nearly every time and place. We make them for family, friends and long drives back home.

They provide us with a way to express our musical tastes or at least convince people that we listen to the type of music we want people to think we do. Playlists are the modern take on the classic mixtape.

People used to share their favorite songs through mixtapes. The process of putting together a mixtape required a great deal of consideration.

First a person has to ponder what to put in the mix. They would then have to go through the long process of recording each song by hand. During this time-consuming process, people thought about what they liked best about both the songs and the
person to whom they were making the mixtape for and would make musical connections to people they loved.  

Few objects could exemplify teen love better than the mixtape. The result of this dedication are scenes like the one from “Say Anything,” where John Cusack holds a jukebox over his head and proclaims his love for the woman of his dreams. Moments like these thrive on the mixtape, and yet love still seems to exist without its presence.
We have modernized ourselves and turned first to making playlists on iTunes and now to 8tracks.

8tracks is a site that allows people to upload and listen to others’ playlists of eight or more songs. It markets itself as “handcrafted Internet radio” that allows you to legally share music with the world.

8tracks began when David Porter outlined a plan for the site during his years at Berkley’s business school. It was formally founded in 2006 and was launched in August 2008. Since then, the site has grown rapidly into not only a source of music, but also a source of networking for music lovers all over the world.

8tracks is quickly becoming the new mixtape, allowing us to share our love with not only one person, but rather the world at large. This kind of global sharing is exciting, fresh and new. It fits us, as Internet playlists seem like the perfect medium of reflection for an Internet-obsessed world.  

And the possibilities for sharing music are endless. With more than 212,200 playlists already available on the site, there is a lot of music at our disposal. We live in an age where there is so much music out there that anyone, aka Rebecca Black, can release a single. 8tracks allows us to sort through all the noise and find music that we actually like that flows together and was handcrafted for us by a person rather than by a

Rather than lamenting the loss of the mixtape, we should enjoy it in its new forms. 8tracks lets us fall in love all over again with the good old mixtape — only now the entire world is listening. 

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