In August of last year, popular mixtape sharing site Muxtape shut down due to “a problem with the RIAA.” Translated, that means the site was having legal trouble because it allowed people to upload and share virtual mixtapes comprised of copyrighted music. Nearly 6 months later, the site’s founder Justin Ouellette has launched a preview of the new Muxtape.
The new site will still allow users to listen to streaming music, and create and share mixtapes, but only using tracks that bands have explicitly uploaded to the platform. Oullette is describing the new Muxtape as “a minimalist platform for bands to promote their music and listeners to create mixes.” The preview has a selection of tracks from 12 indie bands and plans to let other bands to sign up and upload tracks for free in the next few weeks.
According to a FAQ on the site, the original Muxtape folded due to an inability to secure proper licensing deals with the labels. So the new site will aim to bypass the need to deal directly with the labels and be an easy to use platform for the artists themselves to share their music with fans, and for fans to share it with one another. “Muxtape strives for simplicity and believes that music needs a clean, unobstrusive context,” says the site, and promises never to force artists to show ads on their pages.
Muxtape will face an uphill battle against established music promotion sites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, and may never be home to mainstream acts. It will likely be attractive to indie artists, though, who need a place to easily and cheaply promote and share their music while building a fan base.
To that end, Muxtape plans to expand its offerings to artists in the future, including ways for them to sell downloads, concert tickets, and create and sell merchandise. Muxtape also has plans for a developer API and an analytics package to allow musicians to track how their music is listened to and shared across the platform. It is in those expansion plans that Muxtape will likely find its business model.
Be sure to check out our reviews of Muxtape alternatives Opentape and 8tracks. And big up to Muxtape to snagging Girl Talk as one of the initial 12 preview bands — we definitely appreciate the symbolism at play.
Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.