This is a piece I wrote over at SME which can be viewed in its entirety on this link http://wearesme.co.uk/2013/02/28/sme-thoughts-how-important-is-a-mixtape/
The importance of a mixtape.
Mixtapes and free music have always been used as marketing scheme for relatively new artists trying to make a name for themselves. In the last decade, there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of a mixtape and more importantly, FREE music.
Once G-Unit changed the way mixtapes had been created musicians haven’t looked back. G-Unit, came with a new view on mixtapes and released new music.
The continuous decline of record sales has played a massive part in this change. Traditionally, a mixtape was used to establish an artist, create a hype and fan base, and also as a pedestal to practice and perfect the craft. However, present day artists release mixtapes to ‘satisfy’ their fans either between albums or during touring.
These days’ mixtape songs are turning into hits and lead album singles. A good illustration for this is the ‘Adorn’ track by Miguel, which went from being a free mixtape song to being one of the biggest r’n’b songs of the year.
In essence, knowing the type of artist you want to be makes all the difference between a mixtape and album artist. For example, Eurogang/S.A.S, a group that I grew up listening to through my teens; are still releasing mixtapes to date, This group hasn’t reached commercial success because that type of success may not be their aim, as they may lose themselves with a major label behind them.
From mixtapes to EP’s to mixtape/street albums. A mixtape, in some circles, is considerably more significant than an album. Having websites crash over the hype around a mixtape release is something relatively new, how do we view the importance of a mixtape, as a few new mixtapes get pushed/marketed as much as albums?