What is a mix tape? (Mixtape vs. Album vs. EP?) (2023)

This guide will answer what a Mixtape is, how it's different from EPs and Albums, why they're popular, and how they're used in music.

What is a mixtape?

Previously, mixtapes referred to a compilation of music on a cassette or CD "tape", put together by DJs to showcase their skills in choosing and mixing songs for the audience. Today, mixtapes are popular in Hip Hop as an unofficial album release, often rapping over the beats of other musical artists.

What this post covers:

  • What is a mixed tape?
  • Mixtape vs. Álbum vs. EP vs. LP
  • What is the purpose of a mixtape?
  • How do you make a mixtape?
  • Is it illegal to make a mixtape?
  • Can you profit from a mixtape?
  • How many songs are on a mixtape?
What is a mix tape? (Mixtape vs. Album vs. EP?) (1)

What is a mixtape?

The term mixtape can have several meanings. The original mixtape was a compilation of songs from different genres and musical artists recorded on cassette tapes. Mixtapes were originally discovered in the 1980s. As music only existed live and did not reach the ears of all fans, mixtapes were created as a solution to this problem.

In the late 1980s, musical artists, singers and DJs would also record their songs and sell them to fans in mixtapes, earning huge revenue. Mixtapes made their way into 1980s youth culture without a hitch, but were later replaced by more advanced MP3 players and CD recorders. Being part of the famous pop culture of the 80's, the demand for mixtapes in the markets skyrocketed and the sales of mixtape makers skyrocketed.


(Video) What's The Difference Between Mixtape And Album?

Mixtapes are also a great way to showcase your individuality and taste in music. It was a simple method for people to keep all their music in one place and listen to it conveniently. Also, transitions between tracks are smoothed with the help of swaps and fades.

Mainly famous in American hip hop culture, mixtapes caught fire in the music industry with their advent. People of all ages and walks of life have been intrigued by the phenomenon of keeping all your favorite classics on a single cassette tape because of its convenience and is now known as a simple Spotify playlist that you can create with a few commands, Before, mixtapes required a lot of work and effort.

Creating mixtapes is also considered an art form among many music fans and lovers. Making something completely new by juxtaposing existing music is talent and not something everyone can do perfectly.

Some people might enjoy listening to mixtapes more than original albums because they are long and offer a variety of music genres in one place. They don't let you get bored or disinterested. Furthermore, mixtapes could be made while keeping a specific musical era in time, such as the 90s, 80s and 70s. People also varied the length of the mixes according to their taste. Therefore, each mixtape is unique and has a certain beauty.

The difference between a mix tape, an album, an EP and an LP?

Being a big fan of hip hop or music, you must have come across all these terms at least once in your life. A mixtape is a compilation of music in a similar genre, such as rap or R&B. An album is the same, but with higher quality and more organized music categories.

While mixtapes are cheap and made primarily for creating artwork, albums are expensive and difficult to develop due to technical issues.

(Video) MIXTAPE VS ALBUM IN 2017 - What are the differences today?

As far as EP and LP are concerned, EP is a medium-sized spread disc, while LP is a full disc. The only significant difference between them is the number of songs and playing time.

Another minor difference would be that the EP is a continuation of parts of an album, also evident in its name and on the LP as the entirety of the album itself. LPs are also often called "studio albums", but EPs cannot be called that. Swapping EPs and LPs incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes music fans make, but it's quite natural.

Related:What is an EP?|What is an LP?|What is a bachelor?

What is the purpose of a mixtape?

In addition to their creative purposes, mixtapes are also a great way to get the word out about upcoming singles and albums that are yet to be released and need to be released to the masses. Also, mixtapes are a great way to promote an unreleased project.

Artists make mixtapes of songs from their albums and borrowed pieces to build excitement for their new projects and give people a taste of what they'll be releasing.


(Video) Single, Ep, & Album -What's the Difference?

Mixtapes are also designed as a gesture of love to the people you love and are given on memorable occasions that are close to your heart like birthdays, weddings and other memorable events.

How do you make a mixtape?

In today's times, mixtapes don't necessarily need to be recorded on cassette tapes or in a conventional method. People can also compile songs into a single recording on any electronic music platform and call it a mixtape.

There is no specific format that you must follow when creating a mixtape.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you start building your own traditional mixtape.

  • Choose the theme you are looking for. Adventure, Hip Hop, Heartbreak, Grunge are some of the pieces you can choose from. If you're doing this for a specific person or event, pay attention to the details.
  • Less is always more; don't throw away all the songs on your mixtape and hope for a miracle to happen. A few selective and mixed pieces are sure to make your mixtape a hit.

Is it illegal to make a mixtape?

Most people make mixtapes for fun and sentimental value. Since it takes a lot of effort to make mixtapes, they are often considered beautiful and thoughtful gifts. They are essentially not illegal unless they are used for profit with copyrighted songs and songs.

Piracy-related issues shouldn't arise as long as you're using originals and not selling your mixtapes. As using someone else's creative property can lead to legal issues, it should be avoided at all times.

Can you profit from a mixtape?

If you're good at making mixtapes and want to cash in on them, there are certain things you can do. Most of the rappers make huge profits from their mixtapes because they are famous for producing excellent and catchy mixtapes.

(Video) Album v/s Single v/s Mixtape v/s Lp v/s Ep | Meaning ,Difference & Benefits

However, the only way for an average DJ or music lover to make money off a mixtape by selling it is by getting all the copyrights to the songs they used on that tape.

How many songs are on a mixtape?

There isn't a set of rules and regulations for adding songs to your mixtape. It all depends on the end goal you are trying to reach. If you are a rapper and want to showcase most of your music and its diversity, you can opt for a longer mixtape and add 10-15 or even more pieces.

If you are more concerned about the quality of your mixtape, a shorter mixtape will give you more desirable results. There are also some disadvantages that both options can cause. A longer mixtape could dampen a considerable amount of excitement from your fans for your new album.

That's why you need to add just the right number of songs to make it perfect. Some people think that the more the better is the right approach when making your mixtape; this is completely wrong! A messy, disorganized mixtape will only sound like an annoyance to the listener's ears.

So a good mixtape is cohesive and transitions smoothly from one song to an average number of pieces that go together well.

mixtape overview

Mixtapes were originally cassettes or CDs containing a selection of songs chosen and mixed by DJs for the public to enjoy. In today's Hip Hop, mixtapes are often used as an unofficial album, rapping over other artists' instruments.

(Video) RAPODCAST Ep:7 | What's the difference between (Album, Ep, Mixtape, Net-Tape) شنو الفرق بين

Compilation albums of the most popular pop songs on the radio still exist.


Is a mixtape an EP or album? ›

Second, a mixtape is a mashup of an artists' hits or a few tracks of new music. Due to their format, they are typically also more limited in length than albums are, falling into the category of an EP.

What is an EP vs album? ›

An album or LP (Long Play) refers to a full length body of work, features between 7-29 tracks and has a running time of roughly 35-60 mins. An EP (Extended Play) refers to a half-length body of work, features between 4-6 tracks and has a running time of roughly 15-22 mins (but can be up to 30 minutes).

Does EP mean mixtape? ›

EP stands for 'Extended Play,' meaning that an EP is longer than a single but shorter than an album. They typically feature between 2-5 songs and are under 30 minutes in length.

What is considered a mix tape? ›

A mixtape (alternatively mix-tape, mix tape or mixed 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.

What does EP and LP stand for? ›

Back in the 20th Century, the term EP stands for Extended Play Record. It referred to a type of vinyl record that was played at a different speed than the standard play records (SPs and LPs). The difference between EP and LP is that an LP is 'Long Playing' and generally has more than 8 tracks.

Is an EP an album or a single? ›

An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album.

How many songs is a mixtape? ›

10 to 12 full tracks plus a few skits is more then enough, and it'll help you achieve what you want to achieve. That said, if you want to do a longer mixtape, then go for it. The choice is essentially up to you.

How many tracks is an album? ›

On average, an album will have between nine and 12 tracks, but can be shorter or longer. When you release your music with RouteNote, whether you choose our Free or Premium distribution, an album is defined as between 7 to 18 tracks. A single is one track; an EP is 2 to 6 tracks.

How many tracks is an EP? ›

An EP is considered 1-3 songs with one song of at least 10 minutes in length and a total running time of 30 minutes or less. Or an EP is considered 4-6 songs with a total running time of 30 minutes or less.

What is a mixtape vs album? ›

The short version is: Mixtapes in today's music industry are basically a compilation of songs, whereas an album is *typically* a higher quality, more structured story. Hopefully the short version clears it up quickly for you, but if not, keep reading as I go into more detail as to what I define a mixtape and Album.

What classifies as an EP? ›

EP's must meet one of the following two requirements:
  • The release has a total of one to three (1-3) tracks, one or more of the tracks is/are 10 minutes or longer and the entire release is less than 30 minutes.
  • The release has a total of four to six (4-6) tracks and the entire release is less than 30 minutes.
Dec 13, 2022

Can an EP have 8 songs? ›

In order for a release to be considered an EP, it must meet one of the following two requirements: The release has a total of 1-3 tracks, one or more of the tracks is 10 minutes or longer, and the entire release is less than 30 minutes. The release has a total of 4-6 tracks and the entire release is less than 30 ...

What is the modern equivalent of a mix tape? ›

Mixtapes consisted of a collection of music that was recorded usually either onto a cassette tape or CD. In reality, there is no real difference between a playlist and a mixtape. One is a physical copy of the music; the other is digital.

What is a mix of 2 songs called? ›

A mashup (also mesh, mash up, mash-up, blend, bastard pop or bootleg) is a creative work, usually a song, created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs, typically by superimposing the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another and changing the tempo and key where necessary.

Why do rappers release mixtapes? ›

Artists typically make a mixtape when they are independent or looking to get attention from fans or labels with their original style, although this is not always the case.

What is better EP or LP? ›

Extended-play albums, or EPs, are shorter than an LP album but longer than a two-sided single—they'll typically feature 4-5 tracks with a playtime of 25 to 30 minutes. Originally EPs became popular because they were cheaper to produce and ship—they were smaller and lighter than heavy vinyl LPs.

Are LP and albums the same? ›

The only terms that can be used interchangeably are Album and LP as they are one and the same. LP stands for Long Play which is, in essence, a full length album. The Wikipedia definition reads as “[An] Album, is a collection of audio recordings issued as a single item on CD, record, audio tape, or another medium.

What is an LP vs vinyl? ›

Whereas vinyl originally referred to the material from which vinyl records are constructed, the term LP stands for Long Play and comes to mean the length of a particular album as represented by the size of the disc it is printed on and how fast it is played on a turntable.

Can an EP have singles? ›

Yes, you can. You can release one and the same track several times if it is on different products (a product can be a single, an EP, an album, a greatest hits album and so on).

What does LP stand for? ›

What Does LP Stand For In Music? Definition: Long play(er) record. Meaning: A long play record is a vinyl record characterized by its 33 13rpm speed,12- or 10-inch diameter, and it's “microgroove” specification. How many songs are on an LP? Typically 7 tracks and up.

Can an EP have 9 songs? ›

An album may have any number of tracks. Albums of longer than 25 minutes duration are typically regarded as 'albums', albums shorter than that may be considered as 'EPs'. There are no strict rules to these classifications however factors such as track lengths, number of tracks etc.

How many songs are on a tape? ›

Two stereo pairs of tracks (four total) are available on a cassette tape; the first stereo pair is played or recorded when the tape is moving in one direction and the other pair when moving in the opposite direction.

Do artists make money off mixtapes? ›

Multiple sources estimated the payment to a powerhouse mixtape artist like Lil Wayne or Future to be around $50,000 for the right to be the tape's exclusive host, despite the fact that tapes are almost guaranteed to surface on every major site within a matter of hours (or minutes) after a release.

Do people still make mixtapes? ›

Mixtapes are still relevant now, but they're nowhere near as big as they were years ago. Where do you think mixtapes stand in the music industry in 2019? This all goes back to what I was saying about labels being forced to adapt. Mixtapes are still everywhere.

Are mixtapes considered albums? ›

Differences Between Mixtapes And Albums

An album is a format of structured songs telling a story, while mixtapes are compilations of random songs. An album has original tracks of an artist or a group of artists, while a mixtape can have unoriginal songs or covers or instrumentals of a song.

Is 5 songs an EP or album? ›

Or an EP is considered 4-6 songs with a total running time of 30 minutes or less. An album is considered to be 6 or more songs running over 30 minutes in length and is considered to be one product.

Can an EP have 7 songs? ›

EP's must meet one of the following two requirements: The release has a total of one to three (1-3) tracks, one or more of the tracks is/are 10 minutes or longer and the entire release is less than 30 minutes. The release has a total of four to six (4-6) tracks and the entire release is less than 30 minutes.

Can you call an EP an album? ›

Extended-play albums, or EPs, are shorter than an LP album but longer than a two-sided single—they'll typically feature 4-5 tracks with a playtime of 25 to 30 minutes.

How many tracks is a mixtape? ›

10 to 12 full tracks plus a few skits is more then enough, and it'll help you achieve what you want to achieve. That said, if you want to do a longer mixtape, then go for it. The choice is essentially up to you.

What qualifies as an EP? ›

What does “EP” mean? “EP” stands for “extended play.” An EP is effectively a mini-album. It's a collection of songs that runs shorter than a traditional album but is longer than a double-sided (2-song) single. They traditionally have a tracklist between 3-6 songs, with a runtime under 30 minutes.

How many tracks is an LP? ›

In most cases, an LP album is a 10 to 12-track album. Similar to LP, many artists continued using the term “record” to describe or refer to an album even when they were only released on CD or digital recording.


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