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Mixtapes - a way into the business?

If you are looking for a way into the music business, the mixtape market could be a good place to start. However, bear in mind that many mixtapes are illegal...

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Firstly, what is a mixtape? It is not a tape, it's a CD. Let's get that straight. Actually there is no reason why a mixtape couldn't be delivered in any suitable format. They are called tapes because that's how they started.

Mixtapes are, in brief, studio compilations of what a DJ would do in a live set. The additional facilities of the studio, plus the fact that you don't have to play your set in real time, mean that there can be considerable creativity involved.

Really, there has to be creativity, otherwise why not just buy the CDs of the original artists? Oh, of course it helps if you can project a 'cool' image too. In fact cool might substitute for creativity. Take a look in the mirror and assess yourself on that point.

There are many mixtape websites - just do a Google search.

Many of them however are illegal. They offer what are effectively compilations of recordings without paying any royalty or fee for the use of those recordings or the music they contain. This is called piracy, in the true sense of the word.

The way some sites try to get round this is to say that you're paying for the artwork, and the CD comes free. Sorry, that's still illegal. If you want to take a chance, well don't say I didn't warn you. And look how often 'bad boys' seem to succeed, in ways other than music too...

But legal mixtape sites do pay their dues. And the mixtape market is sizeable and growing fast.

If you could do something creative, or cool, in this area, I reckon you could easily find an outlet for your work. As long as it is good of course.

Let us know how you get on.

By David Mellor Friday February 25, 2005
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