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