Difference Between a Mixtape and an Album (With Table)

Music is an art form in which different types of sounds with the lament of rhythm, melody, timbre, and harmony are made into the composition. Music involves different things ranging from pitch, texture, tempo, meter, articulation, and texture. Different types of music use different styles using these factors or maybe removing them. Music is performed mainly using instruments and vocal techniques from rapping to singing. Music is a cultural activity. In music, mixtape and album very important role.

Mixtape vs Album

The difference between a mixtape and an album is that on a mixtape, there is only one track of the song without having any disturbance or pause. An album consists of more than one track. Between the playing of two tracks, there is a pause. A mixtape where available earlier in audio cassettes, but now it is available in CD or digital format. While an album is available on vinyl discs.

A mixtape is something where music or songs are taken from multiple sources, and then it is compiled and recorded in the medium. Compilation of music is usually done in audio cassettes, CD, or digital format. Songs are arranged sequentially or are programmed in such a way that the beatmatching of the song is there. While changing, it has a seamless transition at the beginning and endings of the songs. A mixtape was released free of the cost that is self-produced, independently to gain publicity and avoid any copyright infringement.

An album is a collection of various tracks that are compiled in vinyl discs, audiotapes, or a CD. Albums gain popularity in the mid of 1960s, and that period is also referred to as the album era. In the 21st century, also it is popular. But now it is issued in MP3 and compact discs format. Recording of most of the albums takes place in a studio. The time frame in recording an album can vary from months to years. Because it requires several takes, and then tracks may be recorded at different times and then mixed.

Comparison Table Between a Mixtape and an Album

Parameters of Comparison MixtapeAlbum
SupportOriginally audio cassettesVinyl discs and compact discs.
TransitionsNo transitionsFew seconds
Music stylesArtist’s own style.Different styles
RecordingIn-studio or anywhere else.Live or in studio
Number of TracksOne trackMore than one track
ExamplesMain Attrakionz, French Montana & Max B, King Louie, etc.The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

What is a Mixtape?

Mixtapes became common in the 1980s. Although audio cassettes by Philips were available in 1963, the quality was not very good. The word ‘mixtape’ became homemade when music was compiled from different sources into audio cassettes and compact discs. Songs were programmed in such a way so that they could play continuously with beatmatching. The beginning and end of the song will be distinguishable with abrupt or fade edits. According to Geoffery O’Brien, mixtapes are a very popular cultural art form in America.

A mixtape usually consists of hip-hop and contemporary music related to R&B culture. It is often produced by an artist self-independently with his/her styles to snake it popular, gain publicity and save from copyright. It is released free of cost. There are two types of mixtapes, i.e., public and private. Public mixtapes can be used publicly and are intended for sale to multiple individuals. It can be called a party tape where a recording of music can be prepared by the DJ of the club. A private mixtape is usually for specific listeners.

A mixtape is very popular among the youth. From audio cassettes, it has now come in CD and MP3 formats. Because of more availability of CDs and the disappearance of audio cassettes, it has happened. Because in CDs, it can have more songs, is durable and very easy to prepare. Hip-Hop mixtapes first appeared in the 1970s in New York City with artists like Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc. Then in the 1980s, DJ began to record live music and selling them. Then appeared blend tapes in the 1990s consisting of hip-hop beats. It was also used for promoting upcoming official albums.

What is an Album?

The term Album is a Latin word in ancient Rome. It meant a whiteboard where public notices, edicts were written. From this, in medieval ages, it meant a book that consisted of verses, songs collected together. Thus an album meant a collection of songs or audio recordings in one item. Till the 19th century, albums were used occasionally. Till the 1920s, the practice of issuing records was not taken seriously by American companies. 

Earlier albums used to come in 10 inches and 12-inch sizes. Then in the 1930s, record companies started issuing albums in 78 rpm that consisted of one type of music by one artist. It was assembled especially with the artwork in the front. Most of the albums consisted of six to eight compositions or three to four records on both sides of a cover. The standard format of recording an album has always remained vinyl albums. If an album becomes very long that it couldn’t fit in vinyl discs, then it is released as a double album.

An album era existed from the 1960s to the 2000s. With the advent of the digital age, recording an album is now done in various recording devices ranging from Compact audio cassette, compact disc, 8-track tape, MiniDisc, and digital albums. Because of shifting trends in the music industry, many listeners feel that in the 21st century, there has been a death of an album. To be an album, it should consist of at least four to five tracks with a total playing time of 25 to 30 minutes. Shorter albums are referred to as mini-albums.         

Main Differences Between a Mixtape and an Album  

  1. A mixtape originally came in audio cassettes format. An album standard format was vinyl discs and compact discs.
  2. In the mixtape, there are no transitions between the two songs. In an album, there is a transition of a few seconds between two songs.
  3. The music style of a mixtape is specific and is completely dependent on the artist’s style. The music style of an album may vary from different music to different styles.
  4. Recording of a mixtape can take place anywhere from home to garden or in-studio. Recording of an album usually takes place in a studio or is recorded live by DJs.
  5. A mixtape contains only one track, with various songs mixed. An album consists of more than one track. Normally it contains 12 tracks at a time.
  6. Examples of famous mixtapes include Main Attrakionz, French Montana & Max B, King Louie etc. Examples of famous albums include The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967)

Conclusion

Both a mixtape and an album are very much similar to one another. Now in the digital age, the line between the two has almost been blurred. It is getting day by day difficult to mark the distinction between an album n a mixtape. It is easier to create a mixtape because it provides a lot of opportunities to the n and upcoming artist and is less expensive. Creating an album is expensive because it requires a studio to record with lo of musical instruments and equipment. The difference is there in the format and support. An album consists of 12 tracks and might contain a bonus track as well to surprise the audience or listeners.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/americanmusic.36.4.0487
  2. http://www.forumjournal.org/article/view/2778
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