Resurrecting the Mixtape
Remember when putting together a 60-minute mix of songs would take no less than, well, many hours on those old cassette tapes? Sure, it was a time sucker, but for those of us who can recall spending painstaking hours creating a killer compilation, it was time well spent, because part of the fun lay in sharing the fruits of your labor with your friends. Mixtapes were a way of expressing yourself through song choice and order. Plus, they made great gifts when you're on a non-existent budget.
With computers, CDs and MP3 players, making mixes became so much easier: just drag and drop. But perhaps these inventions made creating and editing playlists a little too quick and effortless. Nowadays, I'd rather listen to music off of my computer, clicking on songs to suit my mood at any given moment, than put thought into making a playlist. Things just didn't feel the same.
That is, until I recently discovered Mixwit. Mixwit resurrects the mixtape online, and makes sharing music fun as well as easy.
Mixwit: The Virtual Mixtape
Mixwit is a free service that combines the ease of dragging and dropping songs into a playlist with the nostalgic look and feel of those old cassettes. You can search for songs, add them to your mix, customize your "tape" (e.g. colors, text, glossiness), choose a skin from a variety of classic cassette choices or create your own, and even upload your own pictures.
The site then publishes your playlist as a virtual mixtape on a web page, and you can share the link with friends or post it on your own website, blog or social networking site.
Mixwit: How it works
A self-described information location tool and social networking site, Mixwit uses music/media search engines Seeqpod and SkreemR to help you find your favorite songs anywhere on the Internet. The music files (legally posted) are hosted on third-party websites; an embeddable Flash music widget enables you to play back the files as well as post your playlist on other sites, including Facebook and MySpace. In addition, you can add songs from your hard drive by uploading them onto the web and entering the location of the file when you create a mix.
View a screencast, created by Demo Girl , for a tour of the site.
Mixwit: Some room for improvement
Still in beta, Mixwit is being constantly updated with bug fixes, improvements and new features. Recently they've included an ability to add favorites from the gallery of everyone's mixes so that you'd have easy access to your favorite mixes from your account. This is especially helpful as over 10,000 playlists have been published since the site launched a month ago, and the site doesn't have a search function.
Although it's good to experiment and discover new songs, sometimes you just want to be able to search for a mix that matches your mood. However, at present there doesn't seem to be any order to the gallery of mixtapes, except perhaps chronological, which means you'd have to try your luck with random sampling. Understandably, categorizing the rapidly multiplying playlists and making them searchable would be an overwhelming undertaking.
One more feature that would be nice to see added is the ability to limit your search for a song by the artist, title or album, which would narrow the results and help you find songs more quickly. Perhaps this would be a feature to look forward to in the future.
All in all, Mixwit does a great job with a very cool and fun concept. I've already made two playlists and look forward to doing more. In fact, I've got a couple of friends whose birthdays are coming up...
* * * *
Our Guest Blogger, Lily Chaos, is a freelance writer, editor and (sometime) information designer. She enjoys daydreaming and discovering cool interactive websites on her downtime, and occasionally spams her friends with her discoveries -- her friends have told her to get a blog. She wanted to share some of her findings with the readers (new victims!) of InventorSpot.com.