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MeFiSwap 2014-1 - The Songbird Swap - Sign-ups are OPEN! March 31, 2014 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Do you miss using your optical drive? Have you wondered lately how you're ever going to get rid of that three quarters-full spindle of blank CD-Rs? Maybe lately you've been feeling nostalgic for mix-tapes but are unwilling to revisit the Eighties in all their retro glory? Perhaps you're wondering what music gets other MeFites' tables turning? Well have I got just the thing for you!

You may be familiar with MeFiSwap, but sign ups work differently this year, so don't just fire off that email like you're used to doing! Read on...

You may ask, What's a MeFiSwap?
MeFiSwap 2014-1 is a mix-CD swap for users of MetaFilter.
(You need to be a member of this site to participate. Best 5 bucks you've ever spent.)

The way it works is after the sign-up period closes [SEE BELOW] participants, or swappers as we like to call 'em, are (mostly) randomly divided into groups of six, called swapsets. Each swapper makes a super awesome mix of music, like you'd give to your crush, and burns copies of it to five blank audio CD-Rs. There's maybe some liner notes or album art that you make copies of too, and the mixes and the liners go into envelopes and get mailed to your swap-mates. Who are, of course, doing the same for you. For each copy of your mix sent out, you get a unique mix made by a MeFite.

It's pretty cool. If you've got a minute I can tell you a little more about it, hopefully answer a bunch of common questions, and then show you how to sign up. So, look:

Guidelines
- By signing up to participate for this swap, you agree to participate in good faith and mail out 5 mix CDs to your swap-mates by the mailing deadline. [SEE BELOW] If you sign up and do not abide by this agreement you will not be allowed to swap again.

- Like I said, we swap audio CD-Rs. Your swap-mates should be able to put the disc you send them into just about any CD player and have it work. Please do not send any media other than a music CD-R without running it by your swapset first. I guess we're sort of old-school in this regard, it is known and noted that in our modern age there are more convenient ways to swap music. For the purposes of this swap, however, CD-Rs and snail mail are the rule.

- If you signed up to participate last time (or a time before) but didn't mail out your mix, you are not invited to swap again you damned mooch! However, if you'd like to attempt to get a swap out to your old swapset and regain eligibility for future swaps please email me and we can talk.

- On the flip side, if you participated in the last swap and didn't get all 5 mixes from your swap-mates, please let me know (via email) and I will try to figure out what happened and do my best to make things right. FWIW & TTBOMK stinkin' moochers seem to be on the downswing, and participation is very near 100%.

- Listen, you will probably have to send at least one piece of mail overseas, and if you live outside the USA, you will most definitely be asked to mail most of your packages to foreign countries. Doing so costs more money, of course. Requests for regional swapsets will be heard and honored to the extent possible, please use the appropriate check boxes on the sign up form. Please do not sign up to participate if you are not prepared to mail 5 packages out.

- After swapset assignments go out [SEE BELOW] you'll be able to email your swapset with notes like "RAD MIX, YO," "Oops, I missed the deadline but I'll mail them today, promise!" and "My mixes are in the mail, keep an eye out!"

Schedule
- Sign-ups close in ~2 weeks on Saturday, April 12th. Swapset assignments will go out shortly thereafter via email.
- The mailing deadline gives you plenty of time: Saturday, May 31st. However, the sooner you mail out your mixes, the better!

Some FAQ
- What should I put on my mix? → Music! Music you love! Music you think people should hear. Music that sounds good!
- Is there a theme? → Yes! It's music! I mean, no! There's no theme except the one you choose. Even though swapset names might have a theme, that shouldn't necessarily dictate the theme of your mix.
- How do I package and mail these mixes? → Padded mailers work best (and recycled ones even better!) but, as long as you can rest assured that your delicate CD-Rs will arrive at their destination in playable condition, pretty much anything goes.
- Do I need to include liner notes? → You don't need to do anything other than mail 5 mixes to your swap-mates, but putting some effort into making it look nice is certainly not discouraged. ;)
- Can I be in more than one swapset? → Sure! There's a check box for that on the sign-up form. You'll need to mail out a total of 10 copies of your mix though, so be prepared for that.
- Didn't you just copy and paste all this from the previous sign-up thread? → Mostly, yeah. Hopefully I changed all the dates right.

If you have any other specific requests or restraints, please make sure to use the 'other' check box on the sign-up form. I will honor them the best I can, but no promises. I'll be around here to answer any other questions or concerns, or feel free to contact me via email (in profile).

So, uh, this part is new and making me nervous: To sign up for this swap, follow this link and fill out the form.

OK! Happy swapping! Defy those genres!
posted by carsonb to MetaFilter-Related at 12:01 PM (80 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

I'm in! Thanks, carsonb!
posted by brokeaspoke at 12:04 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Ok that form was totally worth the hours I spent making it. Watching responses pile up without the stress of my inbox overfilling is glorious. GLORIOUS I tell you!
posted by carsonb at 12:15 PM on March 31 [13 favorites]


I love making these.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on March 31


THE BEST. If I can help at all please let me know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:34 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Woo hoo! I'm in!

Thanks to Carson for making this happen!
posted by mac56 at 12:40 PM on March 31


Haven't done previous ones, hoping I can fit this year's in.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:49 PM on March 31


This was super fun for me last year and I'm excited that we're doing it again. I'm totally in.
posted by elmer benson at 1:05 PM on March 31


Well, it's about time.

And meter. And rhythm. And pitch...
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 1:05 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


After a few years of "should-I-or-shouldn't-I," I've decided that this year, I most definitely should. I'm very excited!
posted by bookwibble at 1:20 PM on March 31


Yay! I've been looking out for this, got mixes on my mind.
posted by ghharr at 1:54 PM on March 31


Yay fun! I am in.
posted by aka burlap at 2:01 PM on March 31




Woo, I am so excited! I've only been planning this CD since, well, shortly after the last one. Now I have to whittle down the playlist to fit on an actual CD...
posted by Athanassiel at 2:55 PM on March 31


That is a very elegant upgrade to the old system, carsonb. Well done. (And, of course, I'm in.)
posted by mykescipark at 3:10 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Fun! I do enjoy hearing other people's weird-ass taste in music.
posted by andytuba at 3:19 PM on March 31


It's been at least 5 years since I participated in a Mefiswap so bugger it, I'm in.
posted by Jimbob at 3:23 PM on March 31


It is happening.
posted by helicomatic at 3:25 PM on March 31


I was just wondering when the next one would be! Thanks carsonb, you're the best.
posted by mr. manager at 3:27 PM on March 31


In!
Hope people like the tasty Canadian pop.
posted by chococat at 3:31 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


That is a very elegant upgrade to the old system, carsonb.

Thank you very much sir. And if I may brag a little, I've even got it set up in the resulting spreadsheet so that a link to each MeFite's profile is generated automatically. (I am double-checking that all participants are MeFites this year, there has been, uh, confusion in the past on the 'You have to be a MeFite' requirement.)
posted by carsonb at 4:06 PM on March 31


Whee!
posted by ocherdraco at 4:48 PM on March 31


So an idea. I think we should all send to carsonb a copy of our sets as well in appreciation for his organizing prowess. So, please send us all your address, carsonb.

Maybe not a requirement, but we should do it anyway.

That's just like, my opinion, man.
posted by brokeaspoke at 5:05 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Yay! I'm in! :)

And brokeaspoke, I agree wholeheartedly!
posted by LN at 5:27 PM on March 31


jessamyn: THE BEST. If I can help at all please let me know.

You could put a link to this thread in the sideblog.... :D
posted by tzikeh at 7:21 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Done!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:29 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


In for the first time! Smooth sign-up process.

Bring on the new and unfamiliar music! I'm an old stubborn guy who still doesn't have an 'aux' input on my car stereo.

Sorry Steve and Renee. Gonna have to Morning Edition without me for a while.
posted by ctmf at 7:57 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Alas, despite having a great time last year (and lucking out with my swapmates' selections), I no longer have a CD burner and can't this year. :(

If anyone else is wondering whether to give it a try -- definitely do! It's a ton of fun.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:09 PM on March 31


Ah, another little difference one might perceive on your end of the sign-up process is that the "You're signed up to swap!" emails aren't personalized with your SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE REQUESTS any longer. Never fear, I'm taking them all in and into account, and will do my absolute best to honor all requests.
(Can you tell I'm taking steps to make this a little easier to administer?)

Thank you brokeaspoke for the offer! Anyone interested in sending me music is welcome to do it and is a generous soul to boot; just shoot me an email down the way a bit, after swapset assignments send out, and we can go from there.
posted by carsonb at 8:23 PM on March 31


Is it against the rules to actually like, DJ mix all the songs together? because that was my first thought. and was always how i made mixtapes anyways, because awesome.
posted by emptythought at 8:55 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Nope!
posted by carsonb at 9:14 PM on March 31


Yay I look forward to swapping some fun music with two swapsets this year. I missed the last swapset, so I am making up :)
posted by seawallrunner at 9:26 PM on March 31


It's the most wonderful time of the year!
posted by emcat8 at 9:56 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I'M SO EXCITED
AND I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT
I SWEAR TO GOD NO ONE IN MY SWAPSET WILL GET THIS SONG
posted by tzikeh at 10:52 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Is it against the rules to actually like, DJ mix all the songs together?

Nope. I've done that with all my mixes. It's my annual excuse to go through all my nu-disco blogs and scrape out all the great cuts I've missed all year.
posted by mykescipark at 10:53 PM on March 31


Yay, yay, yay!
posted by amapolaroja at 11:24 PM on March 31


I'm in, it's the first time for me!!
posted by Pendragon at 12:17 AM on April 1


In! Though I warn you I plan to represent my very eclectic taste in music on my CD ...
posted by Megami at 12:45 AM on April 1


Oooh, Carsonb, I'd like to see your spreadsheet/script setup for profile info after the administering is over for the year (July?) - it could help our secret quonsaring in the future.

I'm in. I got the best mixes last time!
posted by julen at 2:27 AM on April 1


In case anyone wants some helpful hacks to optimize their MeFiSwap workflow, here’s a checklist I put together during a previous swap:

[ ] Realise it's been several months since the last swap
[ ] Select theme for mix
[ ] Attempt to compile mix around theme
[ ] Abandon theme
[ ] Select second theme for mix
[ ] Attempt to compile mix around second theme
[ ] Abandon themes in general
[ ] Painstakingly compile mix
[ ] Express dismay as flash drive containing mix is fatally damaged by rogue labrador
[ ] Swap announced - sign up!
[ ] Select theme for mix
[ ] Attempt to compile mix around third theme
[ ] Abandon themes again
[ ] Painstakingly reconstruct mix destroyed by rogue labrador
[ ] Tweak and revise mix another thirty-nine times
[ ] Design track-list and cover
[ ] Purchase CD cases
[ ] Burn trial-run CD
[ ] Test trial-run CD in car
[ ] Notice the end of track 15 got cut off somehow
[ ] Burn second trial-run CD
[ ] Test second trial-run CD in car
[ ] Resist urge to revise mix again (based on perceived weaknesses of mix over car stereo)
[ ] Print track-lists and covers
[ ] Purchase additional CDs
[ ] Acquire envelopes
[ ] Burn CDs
[ ] Combine cases, covers and CDs to make finished items
[ ] Address, fill and seal envelopes
[ ] Mail packages
posted by misteraitch at 2:50 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]


I'm in. Form filled in and mix commencing - to the Mixmobile!
posted by Faintdreams at 2:59 AM on April 1


So excited! I've been periodically checking the grey for this post pretty much since the last swap wrapped up. :)
posted by firei at 4:48 AM on April 1


Signed!

Maybe I should get my car CD player fixed.
posted by DigDoug at 5:09 AM on April 1


Signed up! Watch out world!
posted by asok at 6:05 AM on April 1


That's about right misteraitch, except I don't have the rogue labrador excuse and do everything in reverse order to you. I spend at least a week listening to the mix and re-arranging the order, sometimes more than once a day, adding or removing tracks and sometimes deciding I need to split it over two CDs. The theme and title are only developed after I have finished the mix and listened to what it has to say.
posted by asok at 6:15 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Signed up! Now to spend the next couple weeks dismissing every song in my collection because it's just not right for my mix's theme before abandoning that theme entirely when I find the perfect song to build a new theme around.
posted by fishmasta at 7:45 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Oh hey, just got my CD burner up and running again, and I already have 3/4 of a kickass chill summer playlist all designed. This was meant to be. Great timing carsonb!
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:29 AM on April 1


YES YES YES. *signs up* Happy anniversary to meeeeeee I signed up for a swap!
posted by immlass at 9:55 AM on April 1


Fantastic! I will go and look out my CD player. I think I left it between the zeotrope and the magnetophon.
posted by rongorongo at 10:02 AM on April 1


+1.

I hope you guys like Kelly Clarkson!
posted by divined by radio at 4:16 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm in! My first time swapping, be gentle...
posted by Mad_Carew at 4:24 PM on April 1


This will be my 2nd year swapping, and I plan to actually have a theme this time. Last year, I was all oh man I need to get this thing done and I didn't put much thought to a theme, other than Stuff That Reminds Me Of Being 15 Years Old. I really appreciated the thought my fellow Grandmaster Swappers put into artwork, etc. Good work!
posted by klausman at 4:32 PM on April 1


Got my mix ready and I am burning a test CD as I type this. SO EXITED!!!

My theme: Dutch Delight: songs by dutch bands and artists.
posted by Pendragon at 6:58 AM on April 2


Much to my chagrin it's been over 24 hours since I've pushed the button to send out confirmation emails. I'm supposed to be in bed ten minutes ago, so it's looking like it's going to be another twelve hours or so before I can get to it.

Apologies to the dozen or so of you who are waiting; thank you for your patience.
posted by carsonb at 10:09 PM on April 2


Hey! I'm caught up on email.

This then is the standard 'If you haven't had an email from me saying "You're signed up to swap!" then you're not signed up to swap and should go sign up if you want to swap.
posted by carsonb at 12:11 PM on April 5


Yeah! I love sending my music to ya'll.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:01 PM on April 6


My theme this year is going to be great music I've gotten from mefites via the mefiCDswap I think.
posted by garlic at 9:11 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I did that one time garlic (called it Your Favorite Band...) and it was easily my favorite of any mix I've mailed out.
posted by carsonb at 3:29 PM on April 7


I've been working on my mix for like...almost a year now. It's been surprisingly hard to find songs that work with it, and then circumstances got in the way the last time there was a swap, so I didn't sign up. But this time, I'm so in.
posted by limeonaire at 9:48 PM on April 7


In!
I used to make a mix every year of the new music I liked that came out the year before but now I am lame and old.
I hope you guys like stuff from 5-10 years ago.
posted by rmless at 12:13 PM on April 8


Once again, I've had my mix done for like a month. Prepare for songs of love, space, and love in space.
posted by koucha at 6:43 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I want to be in koucha's group! Because I personally can't think of a single song about love in space and I feel like that needs to be rectified!

free cookies to anyone who makes that happen. ;)
posted by firei at 4:30 PM on April 10


I personally can't think of a single song about love in space

I've got a perfect response to this, but the code of the Swap dictates that I not risk spoiling any surprises in koucha's mix. Drat!
posted by benito.strauss at 7:53 PM on April 10


curse the code of the Swap! Alas, I shall have to wait and hope that someone in my swap group shares a song about love in space.
posted by firei at 4:38 AM on April 11


Hey everyone, sign-ups close Sunday so if you're all in here like 'Yeah, sign me up, let's do this!' and then didn't go fill out the form to sign up, you've still got a few days to rectify that.
posted by carsonb at 7:11 AM on April 11


I personally can't think of a single song about love in space

Gawd, this is the subject of about a gazillion filks.

"Home, Home on LaGrange", "Makin' Love in a Zero-G Environment", lots of Chris Conway's "Deep Space Love".

I have no idea where my filk tapes are, or if I have the capacity to transcribe them, or if I've even successfully conquered the code of swap, so I can't be sure if I'll include any, but it's plentiful.
posted by Mad_Carew at 9:34 AM on April 11


firei, you also have a shot at it if you wind up in my swap group. I also have had my mix more or less done for months (though I've been fiddling with the order a bit) and it also has a bit of a space, love and various celestial objects theme to it. Clearly it is a brilliant idea.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:56 PM on April 11


Gosh, my nerd cred is going down as we speak. I've never even heard of filks! thank you, wikipedia.

and I'm delighted to heard that my odds of getting into a swap with someone who will share songs about love in space with me are going up! :)
posted by firei at 5:22 AM on April 12


I spent too much time on the fence last time around, but told myself I'd sign up for the next one. So here it is, next one, and I made it in before the deadline.
I'm excited!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:33 PM on April 12


OK! So signups are closed. Every swapper should have a confirmation email. I'll have the swapset assignments out in a few days, then swap!
posted by carsonb at 9:37 PM on April 13


It would be considered bad form for a mix CD to just contain Smooth by Santana feat. Rob Thomas 15 times in a row, right? OK, just checking.

I woke up this morning with that song stuck in my head. Please someone help I'm dying oh god no please.
posted by phunniemee at 8:06 AM on April 15


I believe AskMe has determined that the cure for any earworm is Lowrider. Give that a shot, and whatever you do no, no it's not OK to Smooth your entire mix CD.
posted by carsonb at 2:20 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Alright, here's the list of swapsets!

The Blue Tits
The Bulbuls
The Butcherbirds
The Cisticolas
The Gnatcatchers
The Honeyeaters
The Larks
The Magpies
The Nightingales
The Nightjars
The Orioles
The Quail
The Saw-wings
The Splendid Fairywrens
The Superb Lyrebirds
The Swallows
The Tanagers
The Thrushes
The Treecreepers
The Warblers
The Waxwings
The Wrens

Plenty of good band names up for grabs there, but note that The Wrens is already taken.

Some notes on 'construction':

- The regional swapset option worked out well. There wound up being more 'regional' swapsets than necessary to settle demand, mostly here in the US, simply because there were regional swapsets in other regions that sucked up the folks who would normally be lumped in with four or five USians.

- Some people who didn't ask to be in a particular regional swapset wound up in one, I hope that's OK. Anything that was not OK about that was too subtle for me to pick up on myself, and I'd be happy to become better informed should anyone feel moved to help me do that.

- Taking the sign-up process out of Gmail (and over into Docs) was a LOT smoother on my end. However, one thing that I anticipated and that was confirmed by at least one swapper was that since y'all weren't soliciting me for the confirmation emails by email, the confirmations might have been shunted to spam folders. They did have that scummy resemblance to mass emails, not happy about it, but in this case the benefits greatly outweighed the disadvantage.

- Between the spreadsheet and the swapset assignment emails Google totally ate the links to profiles that I made (to verify MeFi membership, can't believe I had to implement this measure, sheesh!). They should still work in the emails, but they're wrapped in Google gobbledygook. =\

What else? I dunno it's late and my brain is fried.

I probably mistaked a bunch, so let me know if you spot something awry and I promise to get right on the fixing of it. And by 'right on' I mean probably tomorrow, maybe Thursday.

Yay! Happy swapping!
posted by carsonb at 9:05 PM on April 15


Yay! Thanks for organizing!
posted by ocherdraco at 9:09 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


My pleasure!
posted by carsonb at 9:19 PM on April 15


I got the email (thanks!) but had forgotten about the "songbird" theme so I was like, why am I being called Blue Tits? Who else knows about my condition
posted by Monster_Zero at 9:26 PM on April 15 [7 favorites]


Dang, mistake number one has been noticed. Waxwings and Treecreepers, take note: there has been a corrected swapset assignment mailed out to you, in 'reply' to the one I sent first.

Sorry. D=
posted by carsonb at 10:14 PM on April 15


Got my email. carsonb, thanks so much for doing this. You Rule!
posted by benito.strauss at 9:28 AM on April 16


Okay, my mixes are ready. Now just to make it to the post office. Thanks for all your work Carsonb!
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:13 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


My first swap arrived today!
posted by bjgeiger at 2:19 PM on April 30


I now have A PLAN for my mix, though I'm still culling through the massive list of songs I've come up with as possibilities.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:50 PM on April 30


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