Unlike so many other music startups, Muxtape arrived on the music social network scene with a very stripped down and minimalistic interface toting a niche product to a strong niche user base. Justin Ouellette, creator of muxtape, had a simple and fun idea for his site. Simply put, he wanted to create a site where individuals could upload pre-made MP3 playlists (mixtape) for others to discover and share new music that they may have not heard before. Its intended purpose was to introduce you to new music that you would then hopefully go and buy. Much to the surprise of everyone following new emerging music social networks and Ouellette him self, the first day of the website launch proved to be a huge success bringing in 8,685 users. If that wasn't impressive enough, the new company brought in a total of 97,748 users in just the first month of launching. That is no easy task for a scrappy startup and a definite shoe in for elevated press on the company. Much buzz had surrounded muxtape early on with a strong underground following and indie music culture popularity, which lead many to a very simple and unanswered question. The question being of course, "How is any of this legal at all?". Well, with many diverse sides to the story, the answer to that question was that muxtapes legality was rendered moot.
On August 18th, 2008, the RIAA had shut down muxtape due to accusations of copyright infringement. Many legal discussions occurred between officials from the four major record labels (the big four), other industry professionals, and Justin Ouellette himself. Due to the sheer power and influence of the of the RIAA and their major record label counterparts, Ouellette was forced into a loose loose situation if he were to chose to go up against them legally. After much deliberation and consideration,Ouellette decided to scrap the original muxtape idea and focus on turning the muxtape brand into a different functioning site all together that was primarily focused on musician promotion. A full description of the account can be read here.
Since the shut down of the original muxtape, there has been much anticipation into what kind of services and online music tools they would be offering musicians. Would they focus on band management, would they provide a seamless music player for their listeners, will you be able to sell your goods directly to your fans through the site? Only time will tell. On January 27th, 2009, muxtape re-emerged with a fresh new look and preview as to what they were capable of doing and offered a bit of incite as to what was coming. At that time, they had stated that it would only be a few weeks before they would open the site to all musicians and offer more tools for use. It has been 9 months since that time and there has been no change in the site or updates on progress since their re-launch. As many have considered muxtape to be dead, there are others that feel the site is biding its time and letting this new music market work itself out before re-emerging and staking claim amongst the giants, Myspace Music and Facebook. Muxtape has already got the attention of artist's such as Little Boots, Dan Deacon, and Of Montreal. That is a great step to gain support from such influential indie bands. If muxtape comes back and opens the site to the public, it will be very interesting to see what musicians will choose to move to use their platform.
- Music source: Major and Independent Musicians
- Platform: Dynamic HTML based web servicec
- Target Audience: Independent Musicians