The MeFi Music Mixtape Swap 2019 April 1, 2019 11:55 AM   Subscribe

It’s time for the very first all-digital MetaFilter Music Mixtape Swap! Signups are open from now until April 14. Then it’s time to make a mix of your favourite tracks, create a cover, upload it to the internet and get five awesome mixes from fellow MeFites.

How does this swap work?

- I’ll organise everyone who signs up into groups of (approximately) six
- You make a playlist of music you love and create a cover for it—feel free to get as arty or as minimalistic as you like
- Upload it somewhere other people can download it from (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)
- You can optionally create a playlist on the streaming service of your choice and share that too… but the default for this swap is transferring actual files (here are some reasons why)
Once you get your group assignment, send everyone in it a link to your mixtape!

What are the important dates?

- Signups: April 1-14
- Group allocation: April 19
- Deadline for sending mixes: May 17 (four weeks later)

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

Put your MeFi username and email address into this signup sheet. There’s an optional question about preferred streaming services: if you fill it out, I will try to group you with like-minded folks, so you can swap playlists there as well as by uploading files. If you don’t care, just leave it blank.

Time for shoutouts!

CMcG got the ball rolling on this swap, after carsonb ran the original CD-R Mixtape Swap for years. Thanks, both! Also, Zarkonnen has offered to help me out in case of any unexpected organisational challenges, because he’s great.

Anything else?

This is my first time administering a music swap, so I have no idea what can go wrong, but I’m sure it will be fun!
posted by daisyk to MetaFilter Gatherings at 11:55 AM (59 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

posted by Margalo Epps at 1:09 PM on April 1, 2019

I am so down for this.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 1:39 PM on April 1, 2019

posted by amapolaroja at 3:42 PM on April 1, 2019

I knew I'd forget something!

The suggested limit for playlists is 700 MB, approx. 80 minutes, same as a CD-R. :)
posted by daisyk at 4:23 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was unusually delighted with a mix I made about a year and a half ago and I thought "the next time there's a cd swap I'm contributing this" and then shortly before Christmas my computer died and I lost shitloads of music that wasn't backed up ... so ... sorry ... \_(ツ)_/

(I think it's unlikely I'll have time to produce a new one before the deadline but if music be the food of love, play on ... )
posted by octobersurprise at 6:46 AM on April 2, 2019

Thank you thank you thank you, daisyk. My dad had a stroke and my toddler had usual toddler illnesses so I couldn’t take this on right now. But it makes me SO happy to see this happening.
posted by CMcG at 9:58 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I listen to the same stuff all the time. Every once in a while I discover something new-to-me and listen to that all the time too/instead. This is really cool.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:09 PM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is great!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:56 AM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hmmmm. Tempting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:26 AM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

This will be the first mixtape I've tried since well, the days of tapes. I have a feeling it will be rather eclectic. Whee!
posted by zengargoyle at 12:44 PM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

My musical tastes have been pulled in so many directions since the last swap day. I look forward to seeing how I can reconcile them all within the confines of a (virtual) C-90.
posted by mykescipark at 1:23 PM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

CMcG, I hope your dad is making good progress and things get easier soon. Thanks again for the impetus to do this - I've been wishing someone would do another swap for probably years, without stepping up myself!
posted by daisyk at 12:35 AM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

mykescipark, I just checked out your profile page, and I can say with 100% certainty that my mix is going to include something off your latest album, wow!
posted by daisyk at 1:03 AM on April 4, 2019

So in.
posted by signal at 4:39 AM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Fantastic, definitely in. Stopped doing these things a while back when I ended up having to send 4 CDs internationally (at the cost of about $100 in postage when I was relatively poor) and got only 2 in return. Anyways, glad we're finally on the digital train.

Do we have a standard for length? I assume we'll be shooting for 12-15 songs, but we may want to make that stated. Not sure if I'm going to listen to a playlist of 526 MP3s. I'm also assuming we're doing only MP3s. I also assume we're doing playlists through numbered, file-named MP3s...
posted by General Malaise at 4:24 PM on April 5, 2019

The max length suggestion upthread was a CDR-standard 80 minutes.

I share your assumption that MP3 will be the standard unless otherwise specified.
posted by dreamlanding at 6:44 PM on April 5, 2019

The max length suggestion upthread was a CDR-standard 80 minutes.

Personally, I'm sticking with my idea from the previous thread and conceptualizing mine as an old-school C-90 mixtape (including a hand-lettered J-card), with two "sides" of 45 minutes each.

But time-delimiting it to one physical media or the other would be the core concept.
posted by mykescipark at 9:31 PM on April 5, 2019

Yeah, I'm also going the C-90 route but so far there are a few longer things and a few shorter things that people could easily cut out to make it to the 80 minute mark. Also thinking about having a Bonus set with a few left-over things and the original flac, aac, etc. so if somebody really likes something the better quality version is available.

I'm basically doing the same thing I usually do which is queue up some 20 random tracks at a time and just piling up things that get my groove on into a playlist. Eventually it'll be trying to pare that down into a side A/B.

Anybody have a good Linux tool to do conversions while keeping meta-info?
posted by zengargoyle at 10:08 AM on April 6, 2019

> Anybody have a good Linux tool to do conversions while keeping meta-info?
fre:ac works for me.
posted by farlukar at 8:52 AM on April 7, 2019

Totally in. Haven't shared mixtapes with anyone I didn't know since USENET days.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:56 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I haven't done a swap before. I suddenly find myself intimidated, that I'll send out a mix that has nothing unknown for anyone and be branded lame and unadventurous. But I'm reviewing my 5-star folder nonetheless.

I'm also tempted to go the Guardians of the Galaxy route and put in a few lesser-known gems from the 70s or 80s that might not be new, but that people might not have in their collections. Would that go over well? Oh, and very different covers of fairly well-known songs.
posted by timepiece at 9:58 AM on April 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh, and very different covers of fairly well-known songs.

I get together with an old internet buddy for a Discord chat roughly monthly based around us catching up, trading music and "blind listening" with no identifying information until we swap state secrets at the end of our session. Over the years many of the most WTF-I-MUST-HAVE-THIS-NOW moments have resulted from off-the-beaten path covers of songs we both know.

I anticipate enjoying everything I receive. There's something about listening through someone else's ears that heightens everything and lends a different mode of appreciation to a song.

I've looked forward to every one of those blind listening sessions mentioned above for going on 7 years now.
posted by dreamlanding at 1:01 PM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

To be clear, we're just uploading 80-90 minutes of music, along with a pintable cover, right? I don't do a lot of this kind of thing.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:01 AM on April 14, 2019

I would like to creep in under the window for this! New music, woo hoo.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:35 PM on April 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Room 641-A: yep, that's the idea!

Going To Maine: yay, welcome!

Just to keep people updated, I will be setting up the groups for the swap in the next couple of days, and I'll email you with them on Friday at the latest. I'll probably keep the survey open till I get to that, in case anyone else wants to join up last-minute.

I am thrilled by every single comment here about how people's mixes will probably take shape. Can't wait to hear some! \o/
posted by daisyk at 7:13 AM on April 16, 2019

I meant to add, in case anyone's looking for some 2003-15 deep cuts, check out vibratory manner of working's last few comments in the MySpace-music-deletion thread. :)
posted by daisyk at 7:15 AM on April 16, 2019

I'm now trying to get my list down to 90 minutes. I'm at 140. But I want to share them all!
posted by timepiece at 7:19 AM on April 16, 2019

So what's the verdict, 80 minutes, 90, 2x45, other?
(To complicate things unnecessarily: C90 generally is 2x46.5 (iirc); overburn on a CD tends to get you 81)
posted by farlukar at 8:43 AM on April 16, 2019

It’s more of a fuzzy limit than a hard one. I would say 90 minutes max, but I’ll be doing 80 minutes. (Watch me regret committing to that!)
posted by daisyk at 12:47 PM on April 16, 2019

Status update: I have emailed everybody who signed up! Yell at me (via memail or by emailing if I got something wrong or you have an unaddressed need.

Statistics (because we're a bunch of nerds):
- 58 people signed up, and were sorted into eight groups of six and two groups of five.
- 16 people use Spotify, 12 use YouTube, 4 use Soundcloud, and 3 use Apple Music.
- There were one response each for Google Play, Tidal, "various radio station archives", and "Most of the music I'm using isn't available commercially."
- I did not sort myself into the same group as that last person, but only because I didn't think of it till just now. *facepalm*
- Only one email address bounced, which from my experience is a pretty good rate. (I'm memailing that person.)
posted by daisyk at 9:34 AM on April 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

Mine ended up being a much different animal than I originally intended, but I’m super happy with it anyway. I’ve been sitting on it for a week already, so it’s nice to get it into the hands of other humans. Thanks daisyk for making this a reality!
posted by mykescipark at 1:13 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mine will be CD length, 74min.
posted by rhizome at 8:00 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mine is mixtape length, just under 45 minutes for each side.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:18 AM on April 20, 2019

Tagging preferences - For a collection of mp3s, would people prefer to have the individual pieces retain their album tag, or to have the album tag be unified and use the Original Album tag to ID the source album?

I personally prefer to have my compilations as one album, otherwise I get a ton of "albums" with one song each. But I'll defer to a group consensus if one can be established.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:21 AM on April 20, 2019

I'll probably use Album Artist for that grouping.
posted by rhizome at 11:16 AM on April 20, 2019

“Various Artists” for album artist tag, “MeFiSwap 2019” or somesuch for album title tag?

(Not that I care anyway, I just use directories to order my music)
posted by farlukar at 2:02 PM on April 20, 2019

oh and probably also something like “... compiled by [username]” in the album title, to avoid accidental overlap
posted by farlukar at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2019

I got into a YouTube group by accident (filled out the form wrong) so will still be doing a collection of mp3s (but *maybe* a YouTube playlist since at least some of my things are *ahem* sourced from YouTube in the first place... which also leads to the eventual re-encoding and tagging problem because filetypes are all over the spectrum). Hope that doesn't annoy too many in my group.

I also just throw *whatever* into a Music directory tree and let mpd take care of things, it'll happily just play the audio from a video or just about anything you throw at it. I think I'll have to schedule a week in there to convert and tag things and come up with the album art bit.

It's come to my attention that I have a crap ton of long mixes, mashups, discographies, and other random things that pollute my 'queue random' with things like "I have a ton of Pink Floyd".

I hope it at least turns out interesting. :)
posted by zengargoyle at 3:23 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also prefer the MP3 tags to reflect the mixtape album, instead of the original ones, but embarrassingly I don’t actually know how to do that with my current setup (Banshee on Linux Mint, open to download other programs as required). Can anyone give me a pointer, please?
posted by daisyk at 3:36 AM on April 21, 2019

On Linux I use EasyTag. There's an APT package.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:58 AM on April 21, 2019

... or Kid3
posted by farlukar at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2019

And sent.
posted by signal at 11:14 AM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is it mixtape etiquette to explain song choices?

And for us in Spotify groups, do we still have to upload for download?
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2019

Is it mixtape etiquette to explain song choices?
Totally up to you! I explained a couple of mine, but not all of them.

And for us in Spotify groups, do we still have to upload for download?
Yep, that's the idea.
posted by daisyk at 12:26 AM on April 23, 2019

Dang, I'm so happy with mine. I've been listening to it all week and, despite that it's songs I've been listening to for years, I'm not sick of it yet. I even have a good paragraph describing it. It's *loud*, though, compared to what I got from my group.

If you want a LOUD/soft mix, with plenty of 2018 punk, old R&B, folk and some hip hop thrown in for good measure, MeMail me and I'll throw you a link and description.

(please note that I did not do anything with the metadata but did do an okay job with file names)
posted by General Malaise at 5:40 PM on April 23, 2019

I've sorta been taking a break while I figure out how to pull everything together in an optimal way... So spent yesterday looking up things and writing some one-liners to take my m3u playlist and copy the tracks into a single directory and re-number them to keep order and convert them to mp3 as needed. Now to try and come up with some cover art. And more importantly trim and order the playlist because it came out to 12 hours and 1GB...

Kidding, some are just hour long mixes that I just want to get the intro from and others will get culled because some of the old stuff I like was back when songs went on for ten minutes.

I might come in a bit over the suggested length but it should be fine as in there's likely to be a couple or more of things you'd rather just delete.

I'm sorta planning on some liner notes / explanations, a lot of the playlist pruning is picking the best / shortest track of an album or artist and giving enough information so you could find more if so inclined...
posted by zengargoyle at 2:23 PM on April 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I am crossing my fingers that my first attempt to put Google Drive to this particular use has worked out. Had a lot of fun trying to get it to, at the very least. Thanks daisyk (& thanks team mate marcpski!)
posted by Gin and Broadband at 4:32 PM on April 27, 2019

I wish there was a standard way of tightening up the spaces between tracks without having to spin out an entire one-file mix.
posted by rhizome at 7:08 PM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Aw man I wish I'd seen this in time. I always got great music from the MeFi Swap.
posted by tzikeh at 6:58 PM on April 28, 2019

Yo, so thanks to my comment last week, I got a lot of trades outside my group, but a. my group was amazing, b. the trades outside my group were just as good! This has been a particularly good exercise in MetaFilter swaps!

I asked the mods to keep this thread open for a little while longer since many of the people who have asked me for swaps are dealing with groups that are still trading or haven't traded yet. This has been, to me at least, the best swap I've ever participated in. Thanks, everybody who shared with me, and especially, absolutely big thanks to daisyk!
posted by General Malaise at 6:04 PM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this has been a great swap so far, both in terms of receiving fantastic music and in external validation and self-esteem for my own. (You folks are being too nice, really)

Already found a few new bands that are absolutely my jam that I doubt I would have found otherwise. Thanks for setting this up daisyk!

(Also, like General Malaise; me-mail me if you want to swap mixes outside your group.)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:25 AM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had a great time making mine as diverse as possible. At least one instrumental, in a foreign language, cover, live performance, classic/old, and of course at least half a dozen genres.

I regret it did not occur to me to rename with the track numbers so it would play in order. Just the playlist file for that. Not that I really paid that much attention to the order.
posted by timepiece at 6:55 AM on May 4, 2019

This was fun! I enjoyed spending a little time every night putting my mix together, and like General Malaise, I still haven't gotten sick of it. Per my brand, all the songs are Japanese, so I also made a PDF with side-by-side translations of all the lyrics. MeMail me if you're interested!
posted by J.K. Seazer at 5:03 PM on May 11, 2019

I'm getting ready to share my mix with my cohort. Wanted to jump in here and respond to something that had earlier caught my eye but I never bothered to say anything until now:

There were one response each for ... "various radio station archives", and "Most of the music I'm using isn't available commercially."

To the two fine folks mentioned above, if you still want to trade oddities sometime, hmu. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:42 PM on May 14, 2019

Y'all, signal's mix will melt your face off. Definitely don't listen if you're trying to go to sleep.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:59 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks! [/blush] Anybody who'd like to hear it, memail me.
posted by signal at 10:18 AM on May 16, 2019

Task completed. I swear I went through some stages of grief going from just adding things to a playlist then discovering it was 11 hours long through paring it down and OMG it's still 3 hours long to the eventual pick it down to 90 minutes.

I sorta hope there's a period of swapping and then maybe eventually just a list of links to everybody's mixtape.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:31 AM on May 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

Thanks to everyone in the Rambunctious Oysters group, and everyone here that shared their playlists in MeMail and other ways. Lots of gems in these mixes; still digging through them all and loving it.

I love when these exchanges happen, both for the gifts from the community and for the push to go out and find new music. It's all too easy these days to let our devices and subscriptions tell us what's next on the list; good to have mixtape events that force us to explore for ourselves and share the beauty that's out there. More of these please!
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Thanks daisyk for arranging this, and for your awesome mix! I really enjoyed the mixes from the Beautiful Raccoons.

If anyone wants a link to my mix MeMail me. It's classical.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:05 AM on May 28, 2019

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