“The new Wham! album’s out.”
“That is total skill! Can you copy it for me onto this tape and write the tracklisting on the back?”
This is a conversation that could’ve taken place in a school playground, and probably workplaces, across the world in the 1980s. Back then, getting someone to copy you an album, or recording the top 40 charts off the radio and pausing when the DJ spoke, or your friend making you a mix of the tunes of the moment, was about as illegal as it got. Once done, you could pop that new Wham! album/the top 40 chart sensations/mixtape into your Walkman and feel positively fly.
This was way before copying stuff was just a question of “commad+c, command+v.” Copying took time and effort. To make someone a mixtape wasn’t a question of drag and drop, but play and pause and rewind and record and pause and play and so on and on. But while it may have taken time, the mixtape was still a cherished thing. It was the first time people were able to curate their own compilation albums in their homes with off-the-shelf equipment. And because of this the name lives on in music culture vernacular, so it’s not surprising that MakerBot Industries have created a MakerBot Mixtape Kit.
For $25.00 you get an mp3 player that you can put inside a 3D printed mixtape so you can walk along and be the envy of the world. And if you don’t have a 3D printer (what’s with you?) then you can buy a kit already assembled. Sure, the Makerbot MixTape might not be an actual 3D printed Sony Walkman, but it’s a start.