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Martin Ward

How More Artists Are Connecting With Fans With Playlists And Mixtapes


The digital age has changed the way that we consume music, but perhaps the best way for artists to connect with fans is through the long lost art of the mixtape.

This article originally appeared on Huffington Post UK

It is a well-known fact that the way we listen to music has changed dramatically in recent years.

It can probably be traced back to the rise of the MP3 file, which on one hand meant greater flexibility in carrying your music around with you (also down to the birth of the MP3 player and, of course, the iPod) but pivotally, it allowed music to be shared much more freely.

What followed was a slump in record sales as the physical format slowly died out. However, the music executives quickly cottoned on to the idea of the online music store, allowing users to purchase their music but this still didn’t eradicate the rate of illegal downloading. It became the norm that, as consumers, we demanded to know why we should pay for something that most people get for nothing.

Online streaming sites are the compromise between record companies and music consumers - they are effectively saying “here is all the music you want - play it as much as you want for a reasonable monthly fee’. Spotify have ruled this market for a while, Apple are catching up and it is largely due to these streaming platforms that the craze for playlists has come full-circle. Spotify has, for a long-time curated playlists by genre, mood as well as giving the user flexibility in making their own from the Spotify library.

In the 90s, people loved making ‘mix tapes’ on cassettes and it involved recording a mixture of songs onto tape that could be grouped together by a theme chosen by the maker, then passed on to friends. The mix tape is extremely personal because some thought has gone into the process behind it. The person you gave it to would receive some sort of message in listening to it. A tape featuring Eric Clapton’s ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, Mariah Carey’s ‘Without You’ and The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’ screams ‘I Love You!’ more so than if you climbed onto the top of your house and screamed it from the rooftops.

In today’s digital age, it makes perfect sense that the mix tape phenomenon is returning. During the last decade, EDM went international and dominates the airwaves. As a result , a long list of ‘superstar’ DJs have emerged including Calvin Harris and David Guetta. The act of choosing records to play in response to the mood of a crowd is now more relevant as an art form than ever.


Read the full story by Martin Ward at Huffington Post UK

Tags : Huffington Post