Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Online Mixtapes & Playlists: Some Favorites

I posted this on Institute for the Future's Future Now blog the other day and think it's worth a repost over here.

Online playlists are huge right now, and some services are much better than others. As with most things that come in multiple forms on the web, I've messed around with many of them and have found a few favorites. (iMeem is not one of them.) Half of the fun is just browsing and listening to other people's mixes and with a bunch of good sites popping up, there's no shortage of mixes to browse.

First, I like Muxtape, which allows you to upload tracks and make one 12-track mix under your username at a time. The interface is incredibly simple and it's great at doing what it's meant to do. Here's my current mix: You can't download the mixes, you play them through the site. It's fun to choose a few strangers' Muxtapes at random when you're hanging out at someone's house. I've been amazed by how fast some of my friends will run to the computer when a really bad song comes on. Muxtape is dead. RIP, *pours a little out*

My friend's Chad Wood's site, Collective Playlist, allows you to submit URLs of tracks available on the Internet, tag them, and make mixes out of the collective library of tracks (hence Collective Playlist). It's very much an experiment, and there are some logistics that are still being thought through, but it does regularly check the health of the links so if something goes down it comes out of the database. Using what the CP database has to offer is also a great way to explore and discover some things you may not have heard before or things you forgot about and want to listen to more. If you're really desperate you could also upload tracks to your own server and submit the links but realize that doing so will cost you bandwidth if others decide to use those tracks in playlists. Here's my test mix using all colors as my search terms: Colors.

Today I came across which may be my new favorite. You can't upload tracks or submit tracks you've found posted elsewhere; instead, it forces you to use what you can find on the Internet with their built-in interfaces to Skreemr or Seeqpod search. It also doesn't display a track list when you play the final mix, but the fact that the little gears spin and the tape actually spools as you advance through the mix makes up for that. The site allows you to upload your own image to be the face of the tape and customize the layout a little, or choose from the stock retro labels they already offer. They also include links to embed the mix on every social networking site under San Francisco Bay sun. Again, mixes are not downloadable, they can only be played through the app.

Here's my first go at it: A Handful of Rock Ladies

Click the play button below to listen without going to the Mixwit site.

I'd love to know what else is floating around out there. Comment with your favorites!