Technology Tuesday: Everyone’s Mixtape

Music lovers that came of age before the dawn of the digital era, likely fondly recall the joy of listening to music on “mixtapes.” These tapes served two purposes quite beautifully. One was to have 90 minutes of the perfect music available for any occasion: driving, breaking up, lying on the beach, enjoying the holidays, studying late night or any other thing you could imagine. Another use was music discovery. New bands or new songs were often first heard on a mixtape perhaps made by a friend who camped next to a radio for hours on end waiting for that hot new track to play. Creating the perfect mixtape was no easy task but there were rich rewards when done thoughtfully: compelling track order, the right music, using all 90 minutes without cuts from A to B side or at the end of the tape and plenty of other intangibles. The joy, art and fun of the mixtape is not dead and has been resurrected by Everyone’s Mixtape.

Far from simply a nostalgia trip for cassette lovers, Everyone’s Mixtape is a fantastic site for doing the very things that the physical mixtapes used to do: Discovering music, listening to your favorite tunes and making the perfect mix. From the site: “Everyone’s Mixtape is not about adding songs and hitting shuffle. It’s about the time you looked at a cassette’s length as a challenge. About the time you stayed up most of the night making sure all the tracks flowed from song to song. It’s about the time your heart skipped a beat when the boy from science class handed you your first mixtape. It’s more than a playlist.”

How do I make my mixtapes? The site is simple, fun and intuitive to use. After registering with either Google or Facebook credentials, you are up and running in 10 seconds with nothing to download or configure since it is entirely web based. You can listen to shared tapes right away or start creating your own. After clicking “Make a Mix” which sits on top of your virtual stack of tapes, you need to click your length choice of 60, 90, 120 minutes or infinite and if you want to collaborate with others or not. Name your mix and start adding tracks with a search feature that culls YouTube, Soundcloud, or other Mixtapes that have already been created. Feel free to rearrange track order until your tape is perfect.

When you decide to listen to your masterpiece, the spartan design of the website is hypnotically beautiful with just the spinning tape and controls below it with the seemingly hand-written “J-card.” No ads. No flash. No spam. No distractions at all. Barring a touch of color on the currently playing track and a couple of other spots, the site is mostly black and white. These little details, like the animation when a tape is “pulled out” of the stack is one of the things that makes the site both charming and also a welcome relief from many sites that bombard the user with ads, messages and other stimuli.

[Stack of mixtapes on Everyone's Mixtape]

Now what? Keep making tapes! And when you’ve had enough of that, browse shared tapes. I really like this feature quite a bit. Sure I can find a ton of new music on MOG, Spotify, Pandora or a ton of other services. But there’s something more interesting to browsing tapes made by real people and not a computer algorithm. On the top of the page “Collection” is tapes you’ve made or added from other people and “Browse” is where you can choose to look at tapes that have been recently added, most played or most shared and further drilled down by week, month, or all-time.

What else can I do? When you’ve made a killer tape that you are proud of, hover over the social links next to the tape to easily share a link to your tape to Twitter, Facebook or just generate a link to email or text someone. It is one of the simplest ways to share a bunch of tracks with someone. Unlike other services like Spotify, your recipient doesn’t need to have anything installed or be a member- just the link will do! Also, if the track came from YouTube, you can click that icon and be brought to the video where it came from and watch there.

Keep In Mind:

  • You must access Everyone’s Mixtape from a desktop browser. There is no mobile functionality right now but that is apparently on the way.
  • When listening to Mixtapes from the “Browse” stack- you have no idea who submitted or created the tape or tracks. So you can’t “follow” other users.
  • Like the days of Maxell XL II’s- the more effort you put into crafting the perfect tape- the more fun it will to share with others.

Bottom Line Everyone’s Mixtape is streamlined, simple, and social way of sharing, listening to, and discovering music. While the features right now are relatively limited, that too is part of the charm. Have fun and make some killer tapes!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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Hidden Track Technology Tuesday

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