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FAQ: Mixtapes in Hip-Hop

10 Jan

WHAT IS A MIXTAPE?
A mixtape is a promotional collection of songs produced as a showcase of either an artist or DJ’s abilities. Named so after the cassette tape format they originally were created on, modern mixtapes are now more likely to be found as CDs or downloadable MP3 files.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MIXTAPE AND AN ALBUM?
For the most part mixtapes are free of charge, whereas album releases are the opposite. In terms of cost, albums are expensive to make and usually require record deals (or in the case of independent label releases, a distribution deal) to be released nationally, whereas mixtapes travel just as far via the web, and are thus the best way for unsigned artists to gain more attention and get their work spread to their target audiences. Due to the cost of album production, record labels often allow their signed hip-hop artists to release promotional mixtapes in between album releases, so as to generate online buzz and feedback regarding the content, which in turn acts as a cost-efficient way for the labels to tweak the upcoming album to fit the feedback and thus avoid an expensive flop. Continue reading

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