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A mixtape (alternatively mix-tape or mix tape) is a compilation of music, typically from multiple sources, recorded onto a medium. With origins in the 1980s, the term normally describes a homemade compilation of music onto a cassette tape, CD, or digital playlist. The songs are either ordered sequentially or made into a continuous program by beatmatching the songs and creating seamless transitions at their beginnings and endings with fades or abrupt edits. Essayist Geoffrey O’Brien described this definition of the mixtapes as “perhaps the most widely practiced American art form”.
In hip hop and R&B culture, mixtapes often describes a self-produced or independently released album issued free of charge to gain publicity or avoid possible copyright infringement. However, the term has been applied to a number of releases published for profit in the 2010s; in this context, a mixtape is comparable to a studio album or extended play. Homemade mixtapes became common in the 1980s.