Playbutton: The Modern Mixtape

“I’ll make you a sweet mixtape,” I often joke with friends who travel or are far away.

My fascination with making mixes likely started around age 7 or 8 thanks to my father. Oddly, I didn’t become a DJ, but ended up writing and (overly) critiquing music instead.

Dad was the mixtape master, so much so that if he bought a cassette he didn’t like (remember those days when you only knew a single and gambled that the rest of the album was decent?), my dad would use scotch tape to cover the little tabs on the top of the cassette and make another mixtape out of it.playbutton

I was an every-other-weekend-with-the-dad kid and he lived a couple of hours away, so we’d go to Peaches Records & Tapes before embarking on the drive and pick up some tunes. From Prince and R.E.M. to Fleetwood Mac and Green Day, we listened to practically everything. I even got my electronic music on early with the dance remixes of Paula Abdul (apologies to my dear departed dad for making him listen to that one).

When my mother moved us across the country from Florida to Las Vegas (I was 11); my father and I would make mix tapes for each other and mail them back and forth. I was even that kid who’d sit poised with my finger on the AM/FM dual tape deck stereo to try and record songs off the radio—though I would always freak out when the disc jockey would talk over a tune, thus ruining my recording.

Mix tapes gave way to mix CDs, which gave way to just downloading tunes from the Internet or a USB drive. The charm of meticulously cultivating a mix for a friend or loved one was gone. Heck, my laptop doesn’t even have a CD/DVD drive anymore. So what is a music nerd to do? Borrow your friend’s iPhone and load it up with tunes? Make them a Spotify playlist? It just doesn’t feel as thoughtful or tangible, in my opinion.

I think I may have finally solved this niche, dorky problem, in a cool kinda way.00PREDESIGN03_500x503_Banner_grande

Hello, Playbutton.

Part hipster accessory, part MP3 player, 100 percent rad, you can show that special someone that you made some effort and are secretly trying to communicate your feelings with relevant songs. All you have to do is plug in some headphones (but if you’re some cave-dweller and don’t have any, Playbutton sells matching ones, too).

Each 2 GB Playbutton comes complete with a USB cable (that also charges it), super-simple directions (if you aren’t my mom and have no idea how to drag and drop files) and a plethora of snazzy designs. My favorite? The yellow button with a reel-to-reel picture on it. Something about that seems appropriate. You can even get custom designs made (though it’s driving me crazy that those have been out of stock for a while; I WANT ONE!).

I also got to thinking for my EDM homies: Wouldn’t this be a great way to hand out DJ mixes in the club? Throw a logo on it, toss it from the stage along with some cake, and voilà! Marketing gold! Even some bands and pop artists have custom Playbuttons. Though at $24.99 each (or $7.99-$21.99 for bulk orders depending on memory and quantity), that may only be something the superstars can do. But I think it’s a fair price for creating the modern mixtape. I bought two already.

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