The Lost Art of the Mixtape

Were you born before the 90s? Then you’ve most likely done everything described below at least once.

Before iPods, iPhones or even burning CDs of Napster ripped music we had to improvise to fill that walkman with our favorite tracks. I’m talking about making yourself a cassette tape of your favorite songs using a double tape deck boom box, stereo system or recorder.


Here is a little play by play of how I used to create my “playlists” when I was a kid:

Step 1
First I wouldย buy packs of empty tapes and record my favorite songs right off the radio. These recorded sessions would be full of commercials and radio DJs announcing this and that, but in between the music was pure sound, …well as pure as ripped tape quality got.

Step 2
Once I had a set of radio tapes, I had the material to record my new cassette mix. Don’t forget the already purchased albums on tape, which were also used as a source of music.

Step 3
Syncing up the tapes and pressing play/rec at the same time and having to listen to the entire song until it was done recording live onto the empty tape was quite the process and could take hours… It gave these tapes a certain personal worth that a burnt cd already lacked from the start and an mp3 never even reached.

Step 4
Give the cassette a name: (These are some of the actual names I used…)

Tommy’s Rock
Hip Hoppin
For your ears only
KissFM Midnight

It cracks me up remembering these ๐Ÿ˜€


I feel about cassettesย the same way some people feel about vinyl. And I bet future generations are gonna feel the same about mp3s (somehow) once music is reduced to cloud libraries accessible simply by thought.

And don’t forget: All you can give the girl you’re into in a cloud driven world is a spotify playlist…. this can never replace a physical gift of thought and labor.. never.

I would love to hearย your mixtape stories.



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