Mixtape vs Playlist: Difference and Comparison

Music is loved and cherished by all of us. And to cherish without interruption, we often want to store them. Mixtape and playlist do that for us.

Both have connections with music and songs, and in addition to that, both have almost the same purpose. However, they are not the same and therefore share several differences.

Key Takeaways

  1. A mixtape is a compilation of songs, recorded on a cassette tape or CD. At the same time, a playlist is a digital collection of songs or tracks organized for personal enjoyment or sharing.
  2. Mixtapes were popular in the analog era and often featured custom cover art or personalized messages, while playlists are easily created, edited, and shared on digital music platforms.
  3. Both mixtapes and playlists allow for the curation and arrangement of songs based on themes, moods, or personal preferences.

Mixtape vs Playlist

A mixtape is a compilation of songs that are recorded or copied onto a physical medium such as a cassette tape or a CD. Mixtapes were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. A playlist is a digital collection of music tracks that can be created and stored on a computer, mobile device, or streaming service. Playlists can be created and shared online.

Mixtape vs Playlist

A mixtape is a tape where songs are used to get stored. Different sources can provide these songs. In the 80s and 90s, the mixtape created a sensation, and it used to be regarded as a thoughtful gift for loved ones.


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A playlist is a list of songs or videos. It is a new phenomenon, and it is much more convenient and portable. One can access their or even other people’s playlist that is available online. However, an internet connection is needed for this.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMixtapePlaylist
TypeThe mixtape is only for audio.A playlist can have audio as well as video files.
Instrument to playTo play a mixtape, a radio or LP player is required.To play a playlist, a media player is needed.
ShufflingHere shuffling is not possible.Here shuffling is possible.
Requirement of internetIn a mixtape, the internet was not needed.If a playlist is online then the internet will be required. 
File extensionThe mixtape does not need any extension.A playlist has a file extension based on the type of file. 

What is Mixtape?

A mixtape is also spelt as a mix-tape. It is a compilation of songs and music. And as its name suggests, it is a mix. It does not have one source.

One can store the songs one likes and enjoy whenever wanted. It is a medium to record songs. Its origins will take us back to the 1980s. In the beginning, it used to mean a tool to compile songs on a cassette tape or a CD.

It was made at home. One could compile the songs however they wanted. It could order songs either sequentially or as a continuation of the songs. 

It could get edited, and one could add editing features. It is possible to even insert a voice-over after or before the commencement of a song. The fades away effect after each song gets used the most. 

American essayist Geoffrey O’Brien called the mixtape “the most widely practised American art form”. In the 80s and 90s, making mixtapes was a love language.

It bears an emotional value. However, the sound quality of these cassettes was poor. And due to this, they were never considered to be an instrument of recording songs. 

This concept changed when advanced tape formulations came to the market with chrome and metal tape. With the growing popularity, creating a mix became very easy and portable. One could use a radio or LP player to enjoy these. 

What is Playlist?

A playlist is, as its name suggests, is a list. This list can contain audio as well as video files. To play these files, one needs a media player.

With the help of the media player, one can enjoy these files sequentially or even shuffle if they want. Also, it can be played in a loop.

If the playlist is audio oriented, then it means it contains only songs and music pieces. And in the case of a video playlist, the list will include video files.

This word has got several added meanings to it as the digital world started to change. With television broadcasting, computers, the internet and now phones filled with applications, the meaning of playlists has changed. 

A list of recorded titles on a digital video disk can also be a playlist. Online, on the internet, a playlist can mean a list of chapters.

If we consider a music app, then a playlist is a list of songs. It is either chosen and curated by yourself or others. Similarly, on YouTube, a playlist is the list of videos. It can be curated by others too.


Main Differences Between Mixtape and Playlist

  1. In a mixtape, only audio can be stored. It was solely meant to preserve songs and music. On the other hand, a playlist can consist of audio files along with video files.
  2. A radio or LP player is a must for playing a mixtape, whereas a playlist will need a media player to be played. 
  3. In a mixtape, one can not shuffle the stored song as they want. It is a continuum. But a playlist can be shuffled, as the user wants.
  4. A mixtape is in offline mode. So the internet is not required to play it. On the contrary, when a playlist is stored online, in an app or website, the internet is a must. 
  5. The mixtape in offline mode does not come with any sort of extension, while a playlist includes file extension as per the type of file.
Difference Between Mixtape and Playlist
  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/978-1-137-58290-4_11
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