If music be the food of love: creating a modern day mix tape for your music-mad lover

With the rise of the CD and MP3, the humble cassette tape has had it day. Learn how can you make a romantic 'mixtape' in the 21st Century.

If you’re a kid of the 80’s then you’ll remember the audio cassette – that awkward piece of plastic that took up too much space on your music shelf but became the roots of your long-term love affair with music. With it came that wonderfully archaic form of file sharing known as the mixtape. With a quick flick of the record switch and a repertoire of well-chosen songs mixtapers could commit their new discoveries and best-loved bands to a blank cassette, finishing it off with a scribbled title on the A and B side stickers.
Friends and lovers exchanged mixtapes while relationships flourished over a mutual love of The Smiths, Public Enemy and Sisters of Mercy neatly packaged as a 60-minute tribute to the musical arts. Mixtapes were the simplest and most heartfelt way to say ‘I love you and your taste in music.’
But with the rise of the CD and MP3, the humble cassette tape has had it day, and with it the simplicity of sharing your love of music with others has arguably been lost. On the flipside the internet allows for a multitude of ways to share your tastes and send playlists – perfect for a bit of music-themed flirting or a simple yet romantic gesture for your loved-one. If the object of your affection shares your love of music why not show them how much you care with a playlist sent through cyber-space. Here are some ideas to get you started…and they won’t even have to flip the tape over.
 

We7

Co-founded by ex-Genesis front man and digital pioneer Peter Gabriel, we7 is a team of music industry professionals, developers and technologists with a common obsession – discovering and sharing great free music. It’s a bit like having a Personal DJ, creating free, personalised radio stations that only play the music you love (and that you can share with your friends or the object of your affection). The great thing about it is that you don't have to trawl a massive catalogue – all you need to do is enter a single song, artist or genre to get started.
 

Spotify

Spotify is an online service that allows members to stream music for free. It also encourages users to share music with friends by publishing playlists and providing an inbox where members can send tracks to each other. If your crush has a Spotify account you can send them a track under the casual pretence that they should ‘check out this band’ but really it’s just a way to strike up a conversation about music, and who knows where that will lead?
 

8tracks

Based on the concept of the original mixtape, 8tracks lets you compile a list of 8 songs using music from your own collection. Once the playlist is uploaded any visitors to the site can listen to your handcrafted mix and leave a comment. You don’t have to register to the site to listen to music (you only sign up if you want to create a mix) so you can pass your ‘mixtape’ onto your hottie by simply giving them the URL and telling them to hit play. Hopefully they’ll be nice enough to give it the thumbs up afterwards.
 

Mixibits

If you loved the look of the mixtape as much as the content then you might like Mixibits, a site dedicated to the revival of the mixtape, with the imagery to go with it. Simply choose 10 songs from the site’s database then customise your tape by giving it a name and choosing the text style and tape style (the more retro the better, we say). You can then share your playlist on Facebook and Twitter. The only catch is that each song clip only lasts 30 seconds but the simplicity and design of this site is a happy compromise.
 

Soundcloud

Want to show off your song writing skills or amaze someone with your blazing guitar licks? Then try Soundcloud. Already popular with bands, one-man music machines and DJs, Soundcloud offers the facility to upload or record originally-created sounds at the click of a button. Soon your gig-going girlfriend-or-boyfriend-to-be will be suitably dazzled by your musical creations.