A long time ago, in a high school filled with hyper emotional teenagers, there was once this trinket, this token of love, that was called the mixtape. It was a ritual of purchasing a cassette, collecting sentimental songs via radio or other cassettes, and then taking the arduous task of piecing together a symphony of sound that a best friend or potential significant other can truly appreciate.
Cut to late 90s and early 2000s and teenagers are fully equipped with the compact disc that makes creating a "mixtape" less of a hassle, but the task of building your perfect playlist and the sentimental value never disappeared.
Now we have come full circle with the MakerBot Mixtape. The "mixtape" is an MP3 player disguised as a neon colored cassette that you can make with your MakerBot 3D printer. You print it out, assemble the pieces together, and fill it with your playlist. Though MakerBot's mixtape works nothing like the real deal, it's idea is the same because you gift the entire MP3 player to a friend.
With only 2 GB of memory and just three buttons, it's the simplest format of an MP3 that works much like a flash drive -- you plug it in your USB drive and appears on your computer as an external hard drive. From there, you drag your music choices into the folder while the device charges.
We enter the digital age where sharing music is so easy that a couple of drag-and-drops later, you have a musician's entire discography. The ease of sharing music and the ability of keeping hundreds of songs on a tiny electronic device has almost ruined the idea of a mixtape, but there are romantics who reminisce in the slow process of curating a list of songs for someone in mind.
A mixtape is more personal than a library of music albums for the very reason that it was created to be given away. Carefully crafted, it's a thoughtful gift that has almost lost its way in the flurry of mp3 players and music streaming services. We're glad to see it back -- updated and well executed.