Language Change Watch: "mix tape"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Tue Feb 28 18:46:01 UTC 2006

A _mix tape_ was once a cassette tape on which a person would
record a sequence of songs (usu. taken from other sources).
Then it became a cassette tape of chiefly unreleased material,
cheaply copied and distributed.

Now, you will not be surprised to learn, a mix tape isn't a
tape. But it's still called that:

  Strictly speaking, the album is not quite legal and, for that
  matter, not quite an album. Mixtapes--speedily produced CDs
  decorated with crude Photoshop effects and sold through
  mom-and-pop stores, Web sites, and street-corner
  bootleggers--operate in a gray market, free of meddling
  executives and costly sample clearance laws.

I had always thought such CDs were called "mixes".

I await the retronym "tape mixtape", or perhaps "mixtape tape".

(Actually I now see that Google turns up a few of these.
SOTA, Jon?)

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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