More blurb from wikipedia for ya: 'The most common early mixtapes were bootleg 8 track tapes that were sold at flea markets and truck stops in the late 60's through the early 80's, with names like "Super 73", "Country Chart Toppers" or "Top Pops 1977". Homemade mixtapes became common in the 1980s. Although the compact audio cassette by Philips appeared at the 1963 Berlin radio show, the sound quality of cassettes was not good enough to be seriously considered for music recording until further advances in tape formulations, including the advent of chrome and metal tape. Before the introduction of the audio cassette, the creation of a pop music compilation required specialized or cumbersome equipment, such as a reel-to-reel or 8 track recorder, that was often inaccessible to the casual music fan. As cassette tapes and recorders grew in popularity and portability, these technological hurdles were lowered to the point where the only resources required to create a mix were a handful of cassettes and a cassette recorder connected to a source of prerecorded music, such as a radio or LP player. The 8-track tape cartridge was more popular for music recording during much of the 1960s, as the cassette was originally only mono and intended for vocal recordings only, such as in office dictation machines. But improvements in fidelity finally allowed the cassette to become a major player. The ready availability of the cassette and higher quality home recording decks to serve the home casual user allowed the cassette to become the dominant tape format, to the point that the 8 track tape nearly disappeared shortly after the turn of the 1980s. The growth of the mixtape was also encouraged by improved quality and increased popularity of audio cassette players in car entertainment systems, and by the introduction of the Sony Walkman in 1979. A distinction should be drawn between a private mixtape, which is usually intended for a specific listener or private social event, and a public mixtape, or "party tape", usually consisting of a recording of a club performance by a DJ and intended to be sold to multiple individuals. In the 1970s, such DJs as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, Kool Herc and the Herculoids, DJ Breakout, the Funky Four, and DJ Hollywood would often distribute recordings of their club performances via audio cassette, as well as customized recordings (often prepared at exorbitant prices) for individual tape purchasers. These recordings tended to be of higher technical ability than home-made mixtapes and incorporated techniques such as beatmatching and scratching. One 12 October 1974 article in Billboard Magazine reported, "Tapes were originally dubbed by jockeys to serve as standbys for times when they did not have disco turntables to hand. The tapes represent each jockey's concept of programming, placing, and sequencing of record sides. The music is heard without interruption. One- to three-hour programs bring anywhere from $30 to $75 per tape, mostly reel-to-reel, but increasingly on cartridge and cassette." Club proprietors, as well as DJs, would often prepare such tapes for sale. The CD-R disc is currently the most common medium for homemade mixesThroughout the 1980s, mixtapes were a highly visible element of youth culture. However, the increased availability of CD burners and MP3 players and the gradual disappearance of cassette players in cars and households have led to a decline in the popularity of the compact audio cassette as a medium for homemade mixes. The high point of traditional mixtape culture was arguably the publication of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity in 1995. Since then, mixtapes have largely been replaced by mix CDs and shared MP3 playlists, which are more durable, can hold more songs, and require minutes (rather than hours) to prepare. While some mixtape enthusiasts bemoan the obsolescence of the cassette tape, others concede that the greater convenience offered by the mix CD has expanded the possibilities and accessibility of the medium, as indicated by the recent resurgence of mix-swapping clubs that trade mix CDs by regular mail. Some mix enthusiasts also appreciate the potential of the mix CD for extended, continuous mixes and creative album art. Today, websites concerned with electronic music provide mixes in a digital format. These usually consist of recorded DJ sets of live, beat-matched mixes of songs, which are used by DJs seeking to demonstrate their mixing skills to an online audience. Some radio shows worldwide specialize in mix series, including The Breezeblock on BBC Radio 1, The Solid Steel Show (formerly on KISS-FM), and The BTTB Show. Additionally, DJs like DJ Spooky, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Z-Trip or DJ Shadow, The Avalanches, and RJD2 have gained fame for creating new songs by combining fragments of existing songs (which need not necessarily belong to the same genre). The resulting remix or mash-up can be seen as an evolution of the mixtape, in that it appropriates existing songs to give them new meanings through their juxtaposition, but does so in a quicker, more integrated style. This practice is heavily derived from the use of song loops as musical backdrops for an MC's rhymes in hip hop music, which is also related to turntablism. Mixtapes vs. compilations - Many commercially available compilations of pop music initially seem to share certain important characteristics with mixtapes. Like many private mixes, a significant number of the earliest pop LPs were essentially collections of popular singles, and such compilation albums have often taken cues from underground mixes of the same era. One example is Disco Par-r-r-ty, the first nonstop dancing LP record, which was released by Spring Records in October 1974. Consisting of a continuous mix of songs by such artists as James Brown, Mandrill, and Barry White, it was clearly inspired by the bootleg DJ mixes that were becoming popular at the same time. However, the relative anonymity of the compilers of such albums is arguably inconsistent with the rationale behind most mixtapes, which typically reflect the musical tastes of a single compiler. While the editors of such compilations do exercise a certain amount of discretion over song order and selection, the term mixtape is generally restricted to a compilation where the identity of the compiler is clearly associated with the album itself. For example, Starbucks, the coffee chain, sells a compilation CD series called Artist's Choice, which consists of mixes based on selections by such artists as Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, and Sheryl Crow. Similarly, Apple Computer's iTunes Store features Celebrity Playlists, downloadable mixtapes in AAC-compatible form, selected by such artists as Moby, Barry Manilow, and Andrew W.K. The Late Night Tales series has seen artists such as Four Tet and Turin Brakes make their own compilations that are distributed in mainstream record shops such as HMV. The presence of an identifiable compiler whose tastes are reflected in song selection and arrangement allow retail mix CDs to be distinguished from other types of compilations. The distinction can be rather subtle. For example, while most "greatest hits" compilations of individual recording artists consist of a collection of singles in chronological order, others include album tracks, new songs, or obscure selections in addition to established hits, and sometimes reorder the songs for optimal listening. As such, these compilations can be seen as "artist-specific" mixes selected and arranged by the artists themselves. One could also argue that the modern movie soundtrack, which often consists of selected pop music tracks (rather than the traditional orchestral score) is a mixtape with songs selected by the film's director or music supervisor. '