While there is no technically correct answer, your typical mixtape can consist of between 15 and 50+ tracks. This depends on your target audience, genre choices, and the overall scope of your project. In today’s fast-moving world, people tend to provide shorter mixes for attention.
Yo! That Mix Is 🔥
A good mix tape or multiple mixtapes is quintessential for any artist or DJ’s marketing portfolio. You may recall seeing mixed CDs sold on the street or (for the older fans) even an audio cassette tape containing the latest unreleased, underground music featured.
In some instances (if you’re lucky), these mixes might be accompanied by a tracklist of what to expect. Still, more often, the tracks are exclusive, so you will sometimes see the abbreviation “ID” next to some of the names.
For everything you need to know about what to expect, how to build, and mistakes to avoid when it comes to mixtapes, check out the following info.
How Many Songs Does A Mixtape Have?
Content is the driving force regarding the number of tracks you can expect to find in a mixtape. Ultimately the artist wants the audience to receive the best experience when listening to the tracks included, so much of it is down to their taste.
In saying that, the format with which the mix is recorded may limit the artist. For example, old school CDs were limited to approx. 15 – 20 tracks. This is due to their file storage. With the development of MP3 CDs with huge storage capacity, this number has increased to 100 tracks.
Time and genre is also a factor. With styles such as house and techno (generally more extended mixes), you can expect anywhere from 15 – 20 songs, whereas Drum and Bass, for example, is more around the 25 – 35 range as the genre is categorized with a faster, more technical blending of multiple tracks at once
In the event, the mixtape is more of a showcase of production tunes. For example, hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and Kanye West; mixtapes have between 10 – 20 songs.
What To Consider When Planning A Mixtape Length?
Your music project’s content and vision are paramount when considering how many tracks you want to include in a mixtape. Also, remember a mixtape does not necessarily mean the tracks are mixed into each other.
Consider the following points:
- Who am I making this mixtape for?
- What are the features of this demographic of people?
- How will it be distributed? (online or physical copy)
- What genres am I working with? (affects the listeners’ attention span)
- How much time do I have to work to complete the project?
- Will my vision come across clearly?
When Should You Make Longer Mixtapes?
A long mixtape would likely have a place among dedicated fans, friends, and family, as there’s already been a rapport established with them as listeners. Because of this, they are more likely to invest their time into your ideas and music.
The days of long mixtapes (45 min or longer) are over. Not in the sense that the content could be better but more so in people’s attention span in general. With the fast-moving data and content we all see daily, it’s no surprise that people generally want to be “wowed” as fast as possible.
When Should You Make Shorter Mixtapes?
These days, most mixtapes you see/hear are under 30 minutes, some even as short as 15 minutes (mini-mix)
These are best suited for:
- Sending to festival organizers or promoters
- Submitting to a record label
- Promote your style on SoundCloud, Mixcloud, or social media
- When your content is not lengthy but still impactful
- If you are showcasing an EP and want to feature the best tracks
- Promotional material to radio stations as a guest feature
For a deeper look at how DJs can secure a performance booking, look at our essential guide on getting DJing gigs.
What Mixtape Mistakes Should You Avoid?
Executing the vibes wrong
Start the way you want to finish. If the mix is upbeat and energetic, it will be more cohesive to begin and end the mix with that feeling.
You need to test your input/output settings for recording to avoid a distorted or quality-compromised signal. It’s always good to do a test first!
Poor quality tracks/audio
This is less likely to happen these days, although it still can! Ensure the tracks you’re featuring are at least 320Kbps (kilobits per second), MP3, or higher quality, such as WAV or FLAC.
You want the work to be your best, so spend time practicing your mix points and monitoring your levels when blending tracks.
The smoothness between each track is very noticeable for the listener, whether you are mixing multiple tracks together or simply fading the audio.
Rushing the project
At the end of the day, you want your mixtape to showcase your best work, so do not compromise your end product by pressuring yourself to get it done to any other standard than the top!
Can A Mixtape Have 5 Songs?
Nobody says you can’t, although one would assume they would be lengthy tracks. Most people wouldn’t consider 5 tracks a mixtape but more like an EP (Extended Play).
What’s The Difference Between A Mixtape And An Album?
A Mixtape is a showcase of music designed to be heard in a specific way or format.
Mixtapes are generally free and used as a promotional tool to hype up your forthcoming music and get in touch with your old and new audience.
As mentioned, these can vary in length depending on your vision and target audience. They are often mixed live and transitioned in a way that keeps the listener engaged and thinking of discovering more about you as an artist.
In comparison, an album is your big project. Your curated music performance will take a lot more work and money. An album usually consists of around 8 – 15 tracks (total length longer than 30 minutes) and can vary in style.
An album will likely be recorded in the best quality, in a professional studio, and traditionally; packaged and sold as either vinyl or CD. In recent years and with the development of streaming sites, albums often provide an option of MP3 or higher when purchasing.
Of course, it will cost some money, whether it’s a mixtape or an album. Read our article on how DJs make money to see how this is funded.
How Many Tracks Are In An Album VS Single, An EP, And Mini-Album?
When Vinyl and CDs were more popular, there were more notable differences in how many tracks were contained.
These numbers may vary depending on the source, but in my experience, they are:
- Single – 1 – 2 tracks
- EP (Extended Play) – 3 – 5 tracks
- Mini-Album – 4 – 7 tracks
- Album – 7 – 20 tracks
What If I Use Copyrighted Music In A Mixtape?
Providing the mixtape is released for free and with permission of the track’s owners; there is no problem with this.
How Can You Sell Your Mixtape Legally?
Again you need full rights or permission to monetize others’ music. However, if the tracks are original, you can put this on the internet in places like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or your website.
Why Do Established Rappers Still Release Mixtapes?
In today’s fast-paced music industry, there is competition to stay relevant. By continuously releasing music, be it a mixtape, single, or album. Consistency is vital to keep the fans interested!
Which Rapper Has The Most Mixtapes?
Gucci Mane has the most ever mixtapes – 74!
What’s Another Name For A Mixtape?
They can also go by Compilation, Collection, Selection, Compendium, or Playlist.
Another way to create content for your fans is through live performances on your social media. Check out our article on whether you can DJ on Facebook.
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