Tapes & Tapes

MuxtapeVery belatedly, I want to offer a requiem for the old Muxtape. In its current incarnation, it’s become a showcase for new bands that shows some real promise, hewing to the artful, minimalist aesthetic that in part made Muxtape famous. But in its original form, as imagined and launched by its creator Justin Oullette last year, it provided an elegantly efficient social space where anyone could upload their own mix of songs — of all the social networks we’ve seen so far, it was for my money the least fussy and the most elegant.

The old Muxtape was a perfect example of going to great — one might say drastic — lengths to minimize distractions, yielding a wonderfully designed experience for the user, and coming as close as anyone has to achieving a truly, thoroughly modernist online environment. Not incidentally, its somewhat brazen flouting of copyright laws allowed scores of would-be deejays to have fun programming their own playlists. It was really, really fun.

Remuxing the Past

I can attest to that because last June I made my own Muxtape and had enjoyed it. Unfortunately, when the record labels ultimately took issue with the service and forced it to cease its all-comers uploading policy, that track list disappeared along with the many, many others that had been posted to the site during its brief heyday.

In that original spirit, I’m posting a new mix using Muxtape’s would-be successor, Opentape — the track listing is below, and you can listen to the playlist itself at Mix.subtraction.com. In form, Opentape closely resembles its progenitor; its spare beauty is a nearly perfect replica of Muxtape’s. But since it resides on each user’s own Web server rather than existing as a centralized service, it lacks Muxtape’s social features, essentially dooming to a much more limited reach. Which also means it isn’t quite as fun. Still, you can listen to the music, which counts for something.

Listen to This Opentape Mix
No. Artist Song Name
01 The Haywards A Lot of People Fall in Love in the Key of C
02 Army Navy My Thin Sides
03 Suede Shipbuilding
04 Crystal Stilts Crippled Croon
05 The War on Drugs A Need in Your Eye #16
06 Richard Swift The Bully
07 Lou Rawls You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
08 Women Upstairs
(Least search engine optimized band name ever.)
09 The Howling Hex What, Man? Who Are You?!
10 The Twilight Sad Climbing up the Walls
11 Michael Nesmith & The First National Band Hollywood


  1. Open Tape seems cool. I’ve also enjoyed exploring 8Tracks.com, which, while it’s no Muxtape in terms of elegance, it does provide similar functionality while adhering to the letter of the law.

    The other music site I’ve come to rely on is The Hype Machine(hypem.com), but it’s a completely different beast than Mux/Open Tape.


  2. Ah! I’ve been looking for something like this; thanks for the pointer. That said, it’s nice to see Muxtape back — even in its current incarnation; even if it’s just used to showcase a very small population of bands.

  3. What’s the bandwidth load like with Open Tape? On outof5, we blew through our bandwidth pretty quickly offering a flash player for the mixes; I’d use Open Tape if it didn’t suffer the same trouble.

  4. Andrew: there’s no mechanism inside of Opentape, as far as I can tell, that minimizes the bandwidth load. So, good point; I’d better watch the meter. Thanks!

  5. i think there’s one major advantage that 8tracks has over muxtape or, it appears at least, opentape—embedding your mix in an 8tracks media player. So wherever html and flash can be hosted and displayed, you can drop your music mix. It makes sharing the music a little easier and more convenient for your friends and relatives.

  6. I’m trying Opentape too and I was wordering: how do you split mixes in groups (that /01 in the URL). Did you copy Opentape code directly in that folder?

    I hope there’s a better way to do that.

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