A mixtape or mixed tape is a compilation of songs recorded in a specific order, traditionally onto a compact audio cassette.
A mixtape, which usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape's intended recipient. Essayist Geoffrey O'Brien has called the personal mixtape "the most widely practiced American art form", and many mixtape enthusiasts believe that by carefully selecting and ordering the tracks in a mix, an artistic statement can be created that is greater than the sum of its individual songs, much as an album of pop music in the post-Beatles era can be considered as something more than a collection of singles.
With the advent of affordable, consumer-level digital audio, creating and distributing mixes in the form of compact disc or MP3 playlists has become the contemporary method of choice, but the term mixtape is still commonly used, even for mixes in different media (CD, MP3, MiniDisc, audio cassette 8 track, etc.) Video mixtapes have emerged as well.
A compilation album is an album (music or spoken-word) featuring tracks from either a single or multiple recording artists, often culled from a variety of sources (such as studio albums, live albums, singles, demos and outtakes.) The tracks are usually collected according to a common characteristic, such as popularity, genre, source or subject matter. When the tracks are all essentially by the same recording artist, a compilation album is often referred to as a retrospective album. Compilation albums may employ traditional product bundling strategies.
The music industry (or music business) sells compositions, recordings and performances of music. Among the many individuals and organizations that operate within the industry are the musicians who compose and perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music (e.g., music publishers, producers, studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organisations); those that present live music performances (booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew); professionals who assist musicians with their careers (talent managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers); those who broadcast music (satellite and broadcast radio); journalists; educators; musical instrument manufacturers; as well as many others.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the music industry was dominated by the publishers of sheet music. By mid-century records had supplanted sheet music as the largest player in the music business: in the commercial world people began speaking of "the recording industry" as a loose synonym of "the music industry". Since 2000, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially, while live music has increased in importance. Four "major labels" dominate recorded music - Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI - each of which consists of many smaller companies and labels serving different regions and markets. The live music industry is dominated by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, which is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States. Other important music industry companies include Creative Artists Agency (a management and booking company) and Apple Inc. (which runs the world's largest music store, iTunes Store, and sells the iPod, iPad and iPhone).