Is there any music lover out there that doesn’t lament the demise of the cassette tape and more specifically the mixtape? There was an artform to it, one that people who don’t understand will roll their eyes when I get geeked out about the mixtape. Call it mixtape glory days.
You had certain rules to abide by and certain go to songs, you built mixtapes around themes or one particular artist and if you did it right, if you put in a legendary mixtape performance, the tape would build to big moments and then bring you gently back down. It would end perfectly on both side A and B, with the last song on each side recording in full leaving only seconds of blank tape.
To have a song get cut off would be the worst thing in the world for my 16-year-old self.
And those were just some of the governing principles for the casual mixtape. When crafting one for a girlfriend or loved one, it was a whole’nuther beast.
Now, there is no outlet for this type of endeavor. CD mixes are fine and dandy, but offer little challenge or payoff in the way a mixtape would. And don’t get me started about Muxtape or an iTunes playlist. So what’s a music junkie to do with their boxes and boxes of cassettes?
For most they just store them away. For Jason Bitner, founder of Found Magazine, he turns the opportunity into a website. Cassette From My Ex features old mixtapes for past loves, digitized for streaming, and best of all the creators share the stories behind the mixtape with their insert artwork scanned.
So maybe the mixtape is a dead art form, but at least we’ll always have a place to lament.