8tracks / Mixcloud pros and cons

Akirjata asked a question on my Tumblr (he asked this, with a bonus compliment: “I've been enjoying your mixes on 8tracks and mixcloud. I'm wondering if you have any comments on the plus/minus of each of these services?”).
This was my reply:

Thanks, glad you've been enjoying them.

Both sites are great, whether you are a person who likes making mix tapes or a person who likes listening to mix tapes. The one major distinction between the two is that on Mixcloud, people are uploading one mp3 (which can be anything from a podcast to a dj set to a mix tape) while on 8tracks, people make a mix tape by uploading a bunch of individual mp3s. So basically, on 8tracks you will just find mix tapes that play in the same fashion that a playlist in your iTunes plays (i.e. one track finishes and another track starts). On Mixcloud —besides being able to listen to wider variety, including talk / podcast material— you'll find mix tapes that are more mixed together. 

8tracks PROS:

  • They have an iPhone app. It is sweet and it is free (and they even featured one of my mixes in it).
  • It is a great place to find great music you might not find otherwise. 8tracks is basically the home to all those kids who obsessively make mix tapes for everybody they know. Usually, those kids have really great taste in music and know of bands (old and new) that you don't.
  • When you make a mix tape, you can select which mix tape people will listen to next. Which is a nice way to give a shout out to a fellow 8tracker.
  • You can 'star' tracks you like while you are listening to other mix tapes and it saves them for you for later. Which is a nice thing to be able and come back to when you have more time to investigate.
  • They have a nice embeddable player for blogs and if you paste a mixes url into Facebook, the player plays directly in Facebook*.

8tracks CONS: You can't go back in a mix and you can only skip ahead a few times per hour (this is mostly a CON because we have been raised to be ADD, especially with our music; to be honest, I actually think this is a good thing).

Mixcloud PROS:

  • As a mix tape maker, song transitions have always been an obsession of mine. Mixcloud is a place where I can upload a more 'mixed' together mix tape. Which gives me an excuse to play around with my mixing program more.
  • There is a wider variety of what you can listen to or share on Mixcloud.
  • You can jump forward and back in a mix.
  • They have a Facebook App.
  • If you paste a mixes url into Facebook, the player plays directly in Facebook*.

Mixcloud CONS: I find their embeddable players could display artwork better. Also, if people don't label their mixes properly (a thing called 'timestamping') then it can sometimes be hard to tell what you are listening to (as it is just one long mixed together track). And finally… no iPhone app or iPhone functionality yet.

With all of that being said, I really do like both of them as both a listener and a creator. They both are easy to use and navigate around and look sexy. They both go well with a pair of headphones.

I guess this is a good time to suggest checking out HI54LOFI's 8tracks and Mixcloud pages.

* I don't know if anyone else experienced this on Facebook, but there was this message going around about 'secure browsing'. Basically, it said to make sure your Facebook url was showing https. The downside to secure 'https' browsing on Facebook, music players like 8tracks, Mixcloud and Bandcamp stopped playing directly in Facebook.

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