A mixtape is a compilation of songs and or tracks (typically copyrighted music taken from other sources) recorded in a specific order, traditionally onto a compact audio cassette. Video mixtapes have emerged as well. The songs can be sequential; by the 1980s, seamless mixtapes made by beatmatching the songs and creating overlaps and fades between the end of one song and the beginning of another became more popular.
The most common early mixtapes were bootleg 8 track tapes that were sold at flea markets and truck stops in the late 60''s through the early 80''s, with names like "Super 73", "Country Chart Toppers" or "Top Pops 1977". The tapes with the year in the title usually were released before Christmas or early the following year, and were very big sellers.
With the advent of affordable, consumer-level digital audio, creating and distributing mixes in the form of compact disc or MP3 playlists has become the contemporary method of choice, but the term mixtape is still commonly used, and will be used throughout this article to refer to mixes in different media (CD, MP3, MiniDisc, audio cassette 8 track, etc.).
A mixtape, which usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape''s intended recipient. Essayist Geoffrey O''Brien has called the personal mixtape "the most widely practiced American art form," and many mixtape enthusiasts believe that by carefully selecting and ordering the tracks in a mix, an artistic statement can be created that is greater than the sum of its individual songs, much as an album of pop music in the post-Beatles era can be considered as something more than a collection of singles
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