Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth (/me bows down to guitar heroes) has an extract from his new book Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture up on Wired today.

Mix tapes have always been a huge part of my musical education, both giving and receiving. A mix tape can expose you to new bands and sounds you never would have discovered otherwise, as well as helping you to rediscover old friends and songs you may have overlooked.

This extract touches on that joy of discovery, as well as the sense of deja vu that you find with the music industry’s reaction to home brew compilations then and now.

[…] then Sony came out with the Walkman. I suppose the record industry expected consumers to buy cassettes of the LPs, and some surely did, but hey – why not just buy blank cassettes and record tracks from LPs instead? Of course, this is what every Walkman user did, and before long there were warning stickers on records and cassettes, stating: home taping is killing music! It was a quaint forebear of today’s industry paranoia over downloading and CD burning.

Once again, we’re being told that home taping (in the form of ripping and burning) is killing music. But it’s not: It simply exists as a nod to the true love and ego involved in sharing music with friends and lovers. Trying to control music sharing – by shutting down P2P sites or MP3 blogs or BitTorrent or whatever other technology comes along – is like trying to control an affair of the heart. Nothing will stop it.


I had no idea he had had written this, I really should try and keep up to date with what’s going in the world more often. So much music so little time!

(Currently playing in iTunes: Vingt À Trente Mille Jours by Francoiz Breut from Hamster On The Wheel)