The welcome return of the Mixtape… Now digital-ready

There are, by now, undoubtedly those who have never known the joys of making someone a mixtape: That weird, peculiar excitement of trying to work out which song should follow that last one and whether or not the recipient will ever work out the message you think you’re ever-so-subtly sharing with each progressive track; not just the choosing of the music, of course, but the act of listening to each song as you dub it onto the tape – No dragging and dropping with the cleanliness and sterility of iTunes or your MP3 software of choice here, dear reader – with fingers hanging over the pause button to ensure that you stop it just in time to ensure that the start of the next song doesn’t happen. Or, afterwards, making a cover for the cassette box, choosing what art you’re going to cut up or cut out and paste down, draw or write or whatever. Since the rise of burnable CDs and MP3 players, of Spotify and streaming music, of course, all of that romanticism has fallen out of favor… Until now.

Dear reader, meet the MakerBot Mixtape.

“A long time ago, before Pandora or RDIO or even ancient technologies like iTunes, there was the mixtape — a carefully selected group of songs, organized into a playlist and recorded onto a cassette,” explains MakerBot. “You had to get these songs from other tapes or even record them from the radio. You had to have a machine that allowed for transferring songs from one tape to another tape. The whole process took planning… and patience. But the payoff was oh so sweet. The MakerBot Applications team, our division of makers and designers, have figured out a way to bring this magic back to life — with a modern twist — and make it 3D-printed, too.”

The idea behind this is kind of spectacular: An MP3 player with a four hour battery life (and battery that can be recharged when connected to your computer) that can hold up to 2 GB of content, that is made to look just like an old-school cassette tape. It’s just that it’s a cassette tape that you can plug into your computer (via USB cable) and headphones. And if you think that’s cute, wait ’til you see the movie MakerBot has put together to sell you on the entire idea:

Because it’s MakerBot, you have the choice of making the physical mixtape yourself (MakerBot will ship the electronics, and you get to do the rest), or buying a pre-constructed model ready for you to load songs of love onto. It may not be exactly the same as the good old days of C-90s, but it’s the next best thing… and, really, a remarkably smart and cute idea. May people buy millions of these things.

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