The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade Retrospectivus.

Today marks the halfway point in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11, and to celebrate, I wanted to take a quick, fun, selfish, borderline-masturbatory look back at the previous 10 Trades over the last 11 years. If you ever participated in a Trade and sent something my way, you’ll probably be included too.

And that includes a lot of people. Over 100, actually. And of those 100-some people, over 200 unique Mix-Tapes have been created and sent off to readers around the globe. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

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I had to climb a stepladder to take this picture. Here is nearly every Mix I’ve been sent since we started doing this in 2007. It’s a library onto itself. A vast collection down every mainstream and obscure rabbit hole of music from every corner of the globe since the advent of recording. Rarities. Entire discographies. K-Pop supergroups. It’s all here.

Just as importantly, what’s also in these Mixes are the personalities of their creators. With each Mix comes pages of explanation: What specific tracks mean to specific people, how they showed up in certain landmark moments of their lives, and what they hope the listener gets out of their carefully-curated playlists.

Most of the time, there is a theme assigned to Mix-Tape Trades. These have included:

Trade 2 (February ’08) – Love & Sex
Self-explanatory. It was for Valentine’s Day!

Trade 3 (June ’08) – Cover Songs

Trade 4 (October ’08) – Catchphrase
Each person involved in the Trade also got to submit a phrase that would be the personal theme of a random participant. Some catchphrases include ‘Superman isn’t brave,’ ‘Misery loves company,’ and ‘That’s why I don’t drink gin.’

Trade 5 (March ’09) – The Top 10…Of Everything
Each participant got to turn their Mix into a countdown of whatever songs and whatever theme they wanted. I, for example, counted down the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. In tune, I only listened to it once, because it was the most depressing shit that has ever been digitally encoded.

Trade 6 (September ’09) – Six Degrees
This was a collection of six ‘mini-themes,’ including ‘Guilty Pleasure’ and ‘Parental Advisory.’ Each participant got to pick any theme (or combination thereof) they wanted.

Trade 7 (March ’10) – Your New Favorite Band
This was a chance for each participant to introduce someone to their ‘New Favorite Band.’ I usually give away prizes for every Mix-Tape Trade by random draw, but for this one I went with whatever Mix convinced me that I was listening to my ‘New Favorite Band.’

Trade 8 (August ’10) – Three Little Words
Any three little words will do.

Trade 9 (November ’11) – The End
It’s over. Or, at least I thought it was over.

And the artwork! A ridiculous landscape of creativity. Hand-drawn covers. Original photographs. Scrapbooks. I’ve seen it all. Here are just a few of my favorites:

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Ben (Killer Sandbox) does a fantastic job every time. Literally every time (more on that later). The combination of original artwork, photography, design and great songs make me envious whenever a new Mix shows up in my mailbox.

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Speaking of ridiculously talented, Levi Greenacres is another rare combination of art, music and love (the man is a phenomenal tattoo artist and author after all). In addition to hand-drawn, laminated covers, we also get copious autobiographical liner notes. Anyone who gets Levi in the Trade is guaranteed to get something great.

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Mix-Tape Trade OG Emily Mills not only sends out great albums with great artwork, but she’ll also send you her traditional end-of-year playlist if you’re really lucky.

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Heather and Fiona, another pair of Trade OG’s, once sent out scrapbook-influenced liner notes to lucky recipients.

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And I couldn’t forget Carly’s Lost-inspired ‘Man of Science/Man of Faith’ Mixes from 2010. We…were a little Lost obsessed around here back in the day.

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And no CD collection is complete without a watercolor squid/octopus thing drawn by Caitlin. It’s so cute!

So, out of 11 Trades, we have had dozens of people participate in just one or two, never to be seen again. And that’s awesome. But right now I want to focus on the lifers. The people whom, without them, the Mix-Tape Trade could not have existed for this long. Allow me to introduce you to…The 5-Timer’s Club.

5 Trades – Levi G. (Levi will become a 5-Timer following Trade 11. The crested jacket is in the mail.)

5 Trades – Bruce K.
5 Trades – Nicole H.
5 Trades – Heather N.

6 Trades – Jesse R. (Jesse will become a 6-Timer following Trade 11.)
6 Trades – Rissa D. (Rissa will become a 6-Timer following Trade 11.)
6 Trades – Caitlin R.
6 Trades – Brian I.

7 Trades – Mike I. (Mike will become a 7-Timer following Trade 11.)
7 Trades – Josh T.
7 Trades – Fiona N.

8 Trades – Scott F.
8 Trades – Emily M.

And finally, here are the people who have participated in every Mix-Tape Trade in CDP history. They are the very adequately-named 11-Timer’s Club:

Ben J.
Carly C.
Celia Z.
Mike H.
Sherry J.

Thank you.

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So, here’s me and my Mix this time around. I’m going the digital route this year (Spotify in particular), but I’m also sending out a physical copy to my recipient. Why? See everything above. Getting this stuff in the mail rules. It’s the whole point.

Again, the deadline is Monday, June 25. Any Mixes sent my way are included in a drawing to win a free, signed copy of my latest book, Neon Pines Mall. Yeah, I got a new book out!

Alright, have a good week. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.


The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11 Drawing.

It’s go time, kids!

After extensive laboring and building one of those spinny-wheels with the Bingo balls in them, we have drawn the 15 pairings for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11. Everyone who signed up has someone that they will create a Mix-Tape for, and in tune, they have someone who will make one for them.

The pairings are as follows:

Ryan Z will be making a Mix for Carly C.
Mike H will be making a Mix for Jessi H.
Mike I will be making a Mix for Nilajah H.
Ben J will be making a Mix for Sam W.
Levi G will be making a Mix for Alissa O.
Corbin U will be making a Mix for Ryan Z.
Celia Z will be making a Mix for Levi G.
Sam W will be making a Mix for Rissa D.
Alissa O will be making a Mix for Jesse R.
Sherry J will be making a Mix for Corbin U.
Carly C will be making a Mix for Mike I.
Nilajah H will be making a Mix for Sherry J.
Rissa D will be making a Mix for Mike H.
Jessi H will be making a Mix for Ben J.
Jesse R will be making a Mix for Celia Z.

Wonderful. Here’s what we all do next:

1. I will be sending a Facebook message out to everyone today (6/11) in a group (you’re all friends with me already or on Messenger), reminding them who’s creating a Mix-Tape for whom. We’re doing this step through Messenger this time around; it’s quicker and cleaner than e-mail. If you have an issue with this for some reason or are having issues, just let me know and I’ll take care of it.

2. It will then be up to the recipient of the Mix-Tape to contact the creator and give them their physical mailing address or best destination (depending on if you plan on physically mailing them a Mix or sending a streaming one). You can do this right in the FB group message I create, or you can contact them separately if you wish.

3. Once you get the mailing address (or relevant contact info) of the person you’re sending a Mix-Tape to, MAKE IT AND SEND IT!

I cannot stress this part enough: It’s an intimate group and everyone has a buddy; it would really suck if someone gets left out because you decided to go deadbeat on them. The deadline is to have ALL MIX-TAPES MAILED OUT BY MONDAY, JUNE 25. If someone gets left out I’ll feel personally responsible, so please don’t make an ass out of me or I’ll publicly shame you here on the CDP.

4. Once you receive your Mix-Tape, sound off in the comments section or share on social media so we all know the status of everyone’s packages (if you’d like). Half the fun is sharing the experience with everyone involved. I’ve been blown away time and time again by the amount of work and creativity that has gone into so many of the Mixes I’ve received over the years.

5. If you’re having a problem contacting anyone, have a question or anything else goes wrong, contact me any way you’d like and I’ll sort it out. I’m pretty neat like that. Remember though that people are busy, so give them a day or two to answer you back, but let me know if it’s taking a ludicrous amount of time.

I always mention this (and I’ll mention it again when I contact you), but if you’re looking for an easy way to thank me for inventing something as awesome as the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, I would love a copy of your Mix. My mailing address is as follows:

PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI

Any mixes that make it to CDP Headquarters will get a public thank you and are eligible for a SUPER SECRET AWESOME PRIZE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE A SIGNED COPY OF MY NEW BOOK, NEON PINES MALL. Simple as that! Send one my way!

You should be receiving your instructional information by the end of the day today (Monday). So get out there, create a rad Mix-Tape and send it off to your partner by MONDAY, JUNE 25!

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11.

Get hyped.

For the first time in over two years, the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade has returned for the eleventh time!

Since it’s been a while, here’s a reset on how this works:

1. If you want to participate in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, just let me know by Friday, June 8 at 10pm Central Time. No exceptions. You can do this in the comments below, my Facebook page, Instagram or through Twitter or E-mail. Just tell me you’re in, that’s it!

2. On Monday June 11, right here on the CDP, everyone will be randomly assigned a participant who they will create a Mix-Tape for. I function as the middleman if you need any help contacting your recipient or have any questions.

3. Make a Mix-Tape and send it to your recipient by Monday, June 25. Pow.

Now, times have changed since the first time we did this, so you’re more than welcome to go the Streaming/Spotify/Google/iTunes route with your Mix if your recipient is able to receive it that way. HOWEVER, the spirit of the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade is to create a physical piece of media (usually a CD with artwork) and mail it out to your recipient. That’s the whole point of this thing. But again, whatever works best for you.

4. Just like last time, there is no theme for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11. Make whatever you want, go whatever direction you want. It’s your call.

Okay, let’s do this. Sign up ASAP and enjoy your week. Names will be drawn and you will get further notification on Monday, June 11.