The Simplicity of Muxtape

Jul. 1, 2008

5:24 pm

I'm always sitting on posts for two or three days too long. Reference my just-in-scribble-form notes on Muxtape, how I think it's the bee's knees, easily in my Top Ten list of best web services ever. Then yesterday, Khoi Vinh posted his missive about the site's limitations, arguing – it seems, at least – that the ones listed should be on the top of Justin's list of future features.

I couldn't disagree more. Sounds like there actually are some major changes coming, and I'll likely be impressed with a handful of them. For starters, I think it's great that the Muxtape team recently implemented an auto-play on direct links from the RSS feed for your tape.

But in the end, I think Muxtape is just about perfect. I'd rather not see any feature implemented that detracts from what I've come to regard as the service's greatest strength.

Muxtape Keeps You Focused On The Music

If you think about it, most of Muxtape's "missing" features force you to do one important thing: listen to the damn music. Want to read about the history of the artist you've got spinning? Too bad. How about rearrange the tracks from several muxes to create your own über-hip supermux? Not if you don't own the tracks, boyo. How about search? What if I wanna listen to that one specific track and see all the users that have muxed it in to their tapes? But you're at a music site built for listening to music, not socializing. Why not give that tape that just popped up a listen? After all, that's what you're here for – to listen to music. Right?

Khoi was right on about one thing: Muxtape is the anti-Facebook. But I'd take it a step further. It's the anti-social social network. What you can glean from a user is 100% limited to the songs they'd like you to hear. In that way, it's about as authentic to the mixtape spirit and experience as you can get. What does it mean that I'd at one point put Prince's "Strange Relationship" beside Scott Walker's "Cossacks Are?" (Answer: probably not as much as I wish it did.)

If you haven't spent much time on Muxtape, do. It's worth every minute you put in, especially if you can still remember the best way to fake a crossfade on that Sony boombox your dad gave you. While you're there, give mine a listen. And if you can glean anything from my personality from the offerings, let me know. I'm all about the insights.


July 2, 2008

4:51 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more!  Muxtape’s power is that forces a narrow worldview on its users habits —you listen one way or none.  It’s perhaps the best example of ‘opinionated’ software I’ve seen.

The value in Muxtape isn’t some vauge, “social music experience.” Rather, it’s a carefully shaped environment to listen to music in a very specific way—in order, no cheating (fast forwarding), and without any distractions.  I’d argue you could even remove *more* from the UI (track time, play time) and not hurt the experience.

It’s amazing how much fun we can all have with simple, well considered systems.  While flexibility is often something we feel we need an infinite supply of, when given something restricted we can do just fine (and often better).

I’ve got more ideas on this topic, but I’m saving them for my blog :) By the way, great mix!

Matt Brown (#)

July 2, 2008

5:31 pm

Exactly! And it’s that “often better” part that I wish folks working on the web would consider. Of course, I also understand that adage about features being a direct response to a programmer’s need for new challenges, too.

And another thing to add to your list of features I could do without: the ability for the muxer to reorder tracks. I mean, I never found that feature on a boombox.

Matt Dawson (#)

October 4, 2008

6:54 am

I agree with you, Matt. We can have much fun with simple, well considered systems.

-M from Mexico

Mayan Palace Riviera Maya (#)

December 3, 2009

2:04 am

I can’t handle small-talk. If I don’t have something to talk about, I fail to see the point in talking, but not everyone shares my sentiment. I’m known to be a little quieter than most and I don’t mind listening to others talk about themselves and I like to ask questions, but I commonly don’t reveal much about myself in person unless I am asked something.

Free twitter backgrounds (#)

Whaddya think?