Sat 22 Feb
Today I finally mailed out my compilation for Squat, a CD swap club of which I’m a charter member. Way back in the early days, like February 2002, the whole concept of a CD swap club in which a small group of people each assemble their own compilation of rockin’ tunes, burn it to CD, and mail a copy to each of the other members was rare and novel. I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure our club’s founder was one of the very first pioneers in the concept.
By that summer though, the idea had apparently caught on like wildfire, at least among Net kids. Today, if you Google CD mix swap, you’ll find no shortage of links. The trend even made its way into The New York Times.
It sounds like a grand idea, but it’s also a hell of a lot of work. Just burning, packaging and mailing the discs is time intensive enough (especially if you endeavour to put a little work into designing a nice cover). But compiling an appropriately eclectic track listing for a crowd of discriminating music afficionados is pretty nerve-wracking.
What’s more, it gets harder as each round of exchanges exhausts the supply of credibly hip, listenably unique songs in your collection. Squat just completed its third mailing, and it was the hardest for me to compile yet. It was also the most labor-intensive booklet and CD label I’d designed to date which might explain why my contribution to the club was over two months late. Woops.
Nevertheless, the upside is that you get a load of new music you almost certainly never would have heard otherwise. It’s great fun to open the discs as they arrive in the mail, and I’m consistently rewarded each time I pop in a new compilation. This has made the whole process worth the effort for me, especially as my distaste for the music industry shows no signs of abating.