A mixtape is a collection of music from many different sources that has been carefully compiled and copied onto a recording medium - usually to give to someone as a personal gift. Mixtapes were originally cassette tapes, but CDs and USB sticks containing MP3 files have the same function. Mixtapes are often (but not always) put together around a theme, and are a fun way to share music with someone you care about. Follow the steps below to make your own mixtape for any occasion.
Method 1 of 7: Assemble your mixtape
Step 1. Think about a theme
Sometimes a mixtape will only feature some of your favorite songs, but a really impressive mixtape has a theme and conveys a message. Think about the person you are going to make the tape for and what you want to express with it.
Step 2. Be creative
Different types of mixtapes require a different approach in terms of style. Below we discuss some of them in more detail.
Step 3. Choose a nice mix
A great mixtape might contain some well-known songs and some songs that the recipient doesn't know yet. Pick songs you like and expect the other person to share that opinion, but don't be afraid to take some risks.
Step 4. Be selective
Less is more! Don't cram all your favorite music onto the mixtape unless you just want to share some music with the other person. If you want to get a message across, be sparing with your selections. Use only what it takes to say what you want, and no more.
Step 5. Arrange the numbers carefully
Putting tracks together in just the right order is part of the art of making a mixtape. Consider the story, tone, emotion, and musical style of the mixtape. Make a story of the music tracks.
Method 2 of 7: Dotting the i's
Step 1. Add a name
All mixtapes, except the most mundane, will benefit from a name. At the very least, make sure the name is descriptive so that the recipient knows what's on the tape (for example, "2010 Folk Music").
- If it's special, make it special. It's an art to come up with the perfect name for very specific themed mixtapes.
- Using the name of the person receiving the mixtape can be very flattering to them. A name can also be used as part of a command addressed to the recipient.
- Using a favorite lyric from one of the songs on the tape is a good way to center each song on the tape around that lyric, and encourage the recipient to think about the tape (in that regard).
- A short and succinct name that reflects the theme can help give you an idea of the order in which you want to put the songs. For example: A mixtape called 'sunrise to sunset' indicates a very specific line in the music.
Step 2. Add art to it
This doesn't necessarily mean a small painting or sketch (although that's fine), but any kind of decoration you can put your creativity into to create a finished product that is unique and unmistakable.
Use colors. Colored markers are a time-honored tool and trademark of the cassette decorator. You can decorate any paper background with minimal effort without any problem. Try an abstract pattern or oversized, multicolored lettering. Even a plain black marker can cover the label of a cassette or CD with zebra stripes or dense spirals
Step 3. Let it shine
Add sequins/sequins and glitter for some shine with just a drop of glue and a paintbrush. Be careful not to get anything on the tape on the inside of the cassette or CD, and only stick very flat things to the cassette or CD, otherwise the receiver may have trouble listening to your mixtape. Save such decorations for the boxes.
Step 4. Replace the labels
With a little planning and some care, a cassette or CD case and even the label of the sound carrier itself can be made to measure.
- Use linen medical tape for a nice wide label that you can work on well with a marker.
- Carefully cut a photo or part of an article from a sheet and glue it firmly to the cassette (with holes for the cassette wheels) to create a brand new label.
- Use the cover or box of the sound carrier as a pasteboard for a collage.
Step 5. Do what you want with the contents of the tape
If you're an experienced and confident mixtape maker, take your tape to the next level by filling in every possible empty space between songs for a continuous sonic experience.
Step 6. Give your mixtape a backing track
This takes some finesse, and will degrade the sound quality a bit, but the result is worth it.
- Find a long recording of something that isn't music, such as a recited poem, a comedy routine, or a soundtrack from old TV commercials, and record it on both sides of your tape first.
- Plan the order of the songs carefully -- you won't get a second chance to record them without messing up the tape.
- Make a recording of your mixtape over the previous recording, leaving a few seconds of space between songs. The gaps in your mixtape will be filled with the previous recording for an interesting and captivating effect.
- Paint a sonic landscape with fill tracks. Scrape together all kinds of short tracks (less than a minute), and use them to fill the gaps at the end of each side of the mixtape. They will serve as 'bookends' to put the rest of the music in a different light.
- For an even more ambitious project, take audio clips (which are only a few seconds long) found in longer tracks, and place them between each of the other tracks.
Method 3 of 7: Making a modern digital mixtape
Step 1. Select your medium:
CD, USB stick or digital transfer. Today, most people listen to music on computers and smartphones, but you can still put together your favorite music in a captivating mix to share with someone special. The best ways are burning the music to a CD, copying it to a small flash drive, or simply sending your tape over the Internet.
Step 2. Burn your mixtape to a CD
Organize your songs into a playlist and add digital album art to it. Then burn the CD.
Decorate your CD and CD cover. Give your CD cover a striking cover and place the list of songs on the back
Step 3. Put your mix on a USB stick
Collect your files in a folder on your computer. Place a number before the title of each song so that they are in the correct order. Post a.txt or.doc file with info about the tracks you want to add, as well as your cover art. Drag the folder to the icon of your USB stick on your computer.
Since USB sticks are usually small, you can put them in an envelope or attach them to a card before handing it over. This way you can include decorations or a handwritten note and make it harder to lose
Step 4. Submit your mix over the internet
Collect your mix in a folder and include the playlist/documentation and album art. You can compress the folder into a zip file. Use your preferred method to send your mix to the recipient.
Method 4 of 7: Making a mixtape on a cassette
Step 1. Make sure you have the right equipment
Making a traditional mixtape on cassette requires some special equipment: a blank cassette, a cassette recorder, a collection of music (such as LPs or CDs), and the right cable to connect the cassette recorder to your music player.
Choose the length. Cassettes come in different lengths. The best length for making a mixtape is 60 minutes (30 on each side) or 90 minutes (45 on each side). Avoid 120 minute cassettes as the sound quality is significantly less
Step 2. Organize your music
Once you're happy with a track list (below are some ideas), stack your music recordings so that you can work them down from top to bottom before creating the mixtape. This prevents you from losing the wire while recording.
If you can figure out how long each track is, do it. This will help you organize the songs around the break that is halfway through the tape
Step 3. Copy the songs from your computer
If your music collection is mainly digital, but you still want to make an old-fashioned cassette mix, then there is nothing to worry about. Burn the songs you want to use onto blank CDs, then record the tape from the CDs. Make sure you burn an audio CD and not a data disc, as it won't play in every CD player.
By the way, if you have a way to play your MP3 player through your stereo, you can record directly to a tape. Be aware that the sound quality will usually be a lot less compared to the CD method
Step 4. Connect your cassette recorder to your CD player, record player or other cassette player
There are also cables available that are suitable for most cassette players.
If you can, use an integrated installation. Most stereo and hi-fi systems of the past decades have a built-in cassette recorder. Look for the cassette player with an extra button, usually with a red dot
Step 5. Insert the blank cassette into the tape recorder and press Play
Let the tape play for a few seconds until the sound changes to a slight noise, then press Stop.
Step 6. Prepare to record
Place the first album from which you are going to record a song in the correct player of your stereo or hi-fi system.
- CDs: Find the correct track on the stereo.
- Cassettes: Fast forward until you find the track, then stop or pause playback.
- LPs: Leave the dust cover open and wait for the song to start.
Step 7. Record a song
Press the 'Record' button on your tape deck (this will often automatically press the 'Play' button as well), and start playing the track you've selected. By first pressing 'Record' you make sure that nothing of the song is truncated at the beginning.
If you're recording an LP, lower the needle just before the track you want to record, and once the record has reached the pause between the tracks, press 'Record' on the tape deck
Step 8. Stop recording and have the next song ready
Stay close to the stereo and press the 'Stop' button on the tape deck once the track has finished. This will stop the recording. You can then stop with the first album and move on to the next track of your mixtape.
Step 9. Fill both sides of the cassette
When your cassette has reached the end of the first side, it's time to turn the cassette over and continue on the back.
Step 10. Check your mixtape
Listen your entire mixtape to make sure everything is recorded properly. If a song doesn't sound right, re-record it over that portion of the tape until you're satisfied.
Unless you've carefully calculated the time, it's likely you'll end up with part of a number at the end of the first side. You can erase songs from your mixtape by recording over them while no music is playing
Step 11. Write or print the list of songs on a card and put it in the box of the cassette
Add cover art, embellishments, and other finishing touches, if desired.
Method 5 of 7: Making a mixtape for your boyfriend or girlfriend
Step 1. Come up with a specific reason
"Just because of that" is a great excuse to make a mixtape, but "You put a smile on my face yesterday, and I can't figure out how you did it" is better. Your reason suggests themes, which can be used to make the mixtape more cohesive.
Step 2. Stick to a theme
It doesn't necessarily have to do with your reason for making the mixtape, but you should pick something that you think your boyfriend or girlfriend will appreciate. Using the example above, you may be able to come up with a theme with songs about smiling.
Step #3. Search for songs that match your theme
Feel free to use inventive or unorthodox interpretations of your theme to find more songs. Collect as many songs as you can, and listen to them all, or at least parts of each.
Keep trying until you get it right. If you can't manage to scrape together enough songs to fill a blank cassette with music, try coming up with a different theme
Step 4. Limit your scope
Think about what your loved one loves, what you enjoy and how your theme can be expressed. Think about whether or not you can convey a deeper message with your songs by putting them in a certain order. With a bit of luck, you'll be able to narrow the selection down to just the right amount to fit on a mixtape.
Spend a lot of time arranging your songs. Order is important for this type of themed mixtape; proper order of the music allows the songs to flow from one to the other in a way that makes sense and adds meaning. Incorporating all these extra details into your mixtape is also a great way to show a loved one how much love you poured into making the tape
Method 6 of 7: Making a mixtape for a parent or elderly relative
Step 1. Listen with the receiver's ears
Often you will create a mixtape for an older or older relative as a way for them to learn new music. If your intention is to show a lot of new music, first try to find out if they will actually enjoy it. Remember that this person may have a completely different musical taste than you.
Step 2. Choose your tracks based on what you think the other person will like
For this kind of mixtape you choose the catchiest and most accessible songs you can think of within the boundaries of the kind of music you want to hear.
Use the past as a guide. If you can't figure out which tracks these could be, think back to the first time you heard the albums in question. Which tracks immediately caught your eye? Even if your musical taste has grown, those are the tracks that are likely to make a good impression on people who have never heard the music before
Method 7 of 7: Making a mixtape for work
Step 1. Be considerate of other people
Assuming you take the tape to work with the intention of playing it through the speakers so you can listen to it while you do your job is the most important consideration (aside from picking songs you like) the needs and preferences of the other people who will hear the tape.
Step 2. Think about the children
If you work in a customer environment where children and families are present, it is best to avoid songs with swearing or adult themes such as violence and drugs.
Step 3. Be a team player
Try to pick songs that you think your colleagues will appreciate, rather than just the ones you want to listen to right now.
Step 4. Use a simple theme
Deeper themes require a flow that doesn't just go from song to song, but across different styles and musical sounds, which don't translate well to most workplaces. Instead, choose a clear and simple theme, such as "Songs about the days of the week" or "Blues songs that sound like a summer afternoon." That way, as soon as they hear the first track, your colleagues know what to expect from the rest of the compilation, and can continue to focus on their work.
Step 5. Consider donating your tape to your work environment
If the tape is a big hit with your colleagues, consider leaving the mix there permanently for anyone to listen to whenever they want. The whole point of making a mixtape is generally that you give it to someone else, so just think of it as a natural next step in the process.