The mixtape is dead; long live the mixtape
So you think the mixtape is dead, killed by the Internet with its music on demand? You couldn't be more wrong. The Suan startup is taking the mixtape into the 21st century. Read More
Remember the old days, the hours spent in front of a cassette recorder pressing record, stop, rewind, play, and record again and again to create a really special music playlist for a very special moment with a very special person? You might assume those days are over, replaced by the Internet with its music on demand. But you would be wrong.
The Israeli Stayed Up All Night (Suan) start-up is restoring the mixtape’s honor and carrying its legacy into to the 21st century. It allows users to easily create playlists based on tracks from Youtube and Soundcloud. These digital cassettes can then be shared privately with a friend or lover, or publicly on someone’s social media profile. Eyal Datz, co-founder of Suan, explains why the mixtape has a right to live on.
Eyal, how did you come up with the idea for Suan?
Suan started out in a very romantic way: My friend Shlomo wanted to make his girlfriend a special mixtape with all their songs. But there was no way to create a personalized and romantic mixtape anymore – no one has a cassette player and burning CDs is lame. He told me and Avi, a mutual friend, about his idea, and together we created what would eventually become Suan.
What challenges did you face when implementing the idea?
We started completely from scratch. We wanted to build an intuitive website with no technical hassles, focused solely on fun and music. So we had to think about exactly how it should look and feel. We also had to find out how to work with massive websites such as YouTube and Soundcloud to make sure that users can actually find any song on Suan. And, of course, we had to find a way to enable personalization, which is the feature that makes Suan totally different from regular (and boring) playlists.
How does Suan work: Where do I get the songs and how long does the mixtape survive?
Suan allows you to easily create playlists based on tracks from Youtube and Soundcloud, design a digital cassette, and share it with friends. The mixtape survives forever – it’s digital.
Suan is about a lot more than music: You can even choose a cassette design and decorate it with doodles, stickers or text. How has it been received so far?
Since we launched Suan, thousands of people from all over the world have created different kinds of mixtapes. On the weekend of Valentine’s Day alone we had more than 2,000 new mixtapes! We are receiving very good feedback from users including wonderful and romantic stories from couples.
Who is using it?
Everyone! We have been very surprised to see that even people who never had the cassette experience are enjoying it. And older people that used to create mixtapes finally have a way to do it in the 21st century. We’ve also been mentioned in global media: Business Insider chose us as one of the best nostalgic apps, USA Today recommended us as a great Valentine’s Day gift. And we’ve created a global mixtape against racism with the human rights organization Fairplanet.
Why do you think it is important to keep the mixtape tradition?
Originally, the term “mixtape” – and that’s how I still define the term – referred to cassette tapes (or a digital platform like us) you edited yourself and that served a specific purpose: either as a gift for someone or to listen to when you’re in a certain mood. For instance, you might have had a late night drive mixtape, a homework mixtape, or a falling in love mixtape. You created them specifically for that intention and aim. The curation of a mixtape, picking the songs and putting them in the right order to enable the listener to pass from one specific emotion to another, is one of the most amazing things music can give us, and we must keep this tradition alive. <