So, in the spirit of mixtapes from years gone by here we've hand-picked and tested three personalized streaming music services that will let you easily create a playlist online and, better still, share it with friends, wherever in the world they might be.
Try out the services we've listed below and let us know which you like the most. Oh, and be sure to link to the playlists you create in the comments so we can have a listen.
Creating a Playlist
Mixtape.me is really easy both to get started with and get using. Signing up requires creating a username, entering an email address and password and once you've deciphered a Captcha, you're good to go.
Finding content for your list is likewise just as easy. Simply enter a term song name or artist in the search box. MixTape.me's songs are added by users, as well as generated from the millions of songs indexed by MP3 search engine SeeqPod and SkreemR.
When the list of results comes up you can either hit up the song to start it playing, or drag and drop into a playlist which you can create by clicking the "+" sign next to playlists on the left hand side of the screen. To add more songs you just need to carry out more searches.
While your list is auto-saved as you go along, it can just as easily be edited. Once you've created your list you get the option to add a picture as well as the ability to add a description, should you feel it needs it.
There are a few options for you here. You can share with "Friends" on Mixtape.me, you can auto-generate an email with a link to the list, you can get a shortened URL (for example in this instance "http://mixtape.me/p/14398) and you can tweet the list which creates the following message on Twitter: "Have a listen to my mashlist playlist on MixTape.me: http://mixtape.me/p/14398."
In addition, you can embed the playlist using HTML. Here's one we made earlier:
Creating a Playlist
Like the now closed down (and due to reopen as a band resource) Muxtape service, 8tracks lets you upload your own music to the site, which you can then save as a streaming playlist to share with others.
Signing up is simple, and allows you to chose your own personalized URL. To create your playlist, simply select at least eight tracks, no more than two of which are from the same artist or album, making sure you meet the conditions of 8track's licensing agreement.
Getting MPS and AAC tracks on the site works on a simple browse to upload basis (which took a little time, but certainly not off-putting) after which you can name your playlist, enhance the auto generated description and add up to five tags, as well as illustrate it nicely with a pic.
While the playlist's URL can be directly shared (http://8tracks.com/amymaeelliott/amymaeelliott-s-april-2010-mix), a simple "share" button offers a short cut to tweet the list with a shortened URL (http://8tracks.com/mixes/105018) as well as post it to Facebook and StumbleUpon.
Finally, there's also the option to embed the playlist by copy and pasting some HTML code. Here's our effort:
Creating a Playlist
To use Grooveshark you have to sign up for an account which is another simple username, password, etc, type affair, after which you can start makin' music.
Search works via a keyword basis via a search box. If you click to play a song, Grooveshark brings up a neat row of thumbnails showing the song's title, the artist and album art at the bottom of the screen and, although you can drag and drop to create a playlist the more usual way, you can also turn your little selection of recently listened to thumbnail songs into a playlist too, which is quite a nice touch.
While we were seriously impressed with the music we found to be available through Grooveshark, if you can't find a track you want, or want to add your own home-made music, you can upload music files from your computer to your account on the site, although this can take up to 24 hours.
Grooveshark generates a direct URL for your list, which appears as follows for our creation: http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/playlist/Mashlist/27397447 and also offers the option to email it out from within the site.
More advanced options include the ability to export the playlist to a Grooveshark widget, with the choice to mirror the changes in the online playlist. Rather than being stuck with whatever design the site offers for its widget, there are vast customization options.
As well as scroll through a list of designs to chose from, you can change the color scheme, the size (great option, Grooveshark guys!) all of which is previewed live so you can see your changes. Here's our customized widget:
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Image courtesy of iStockphoto, eAlisa
Reviews: 8tracks, Facebook, Grooveshark, StumbleUpon, Twitter, iStockphoto
Tags: 8tracks, grooveshark, how to, List, Lists, mixtape.me, music, playlists
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