We wrote about Muxtape a little more than a month ago, and since then we’ve seen the simple music-sharing platform take off (explosively). Of course, with the growing hype surrounding the once small and dubiously legal project, we, as avid Muxtapers, have been holding our breath for the inevitable – its shutdown. But it looks like we may be holding it for a bit longer, maybe even forever. WIRED’s Listening Post spoke with Muxtape.com founder Justin Ouellette about the project, its origins and future, and, rather delicately, its legality. The interview is brief but enlightening, and while there is some tiptoeing around the issue of legality, Justin doesn’t seem to be sweating it:
LP: Have you been contacted by labels or other copyright concerns? If so, how is that going?
JO: I’ve heard from lots of interested parties, and it’s actually been very encouraging. Labels big and small have told me that they’re excited about Muxtape as a model for discovery and ultimately selling music, and I think that’s extremely keen. Cassette mixtapes were such a great way to discover new music before the internet, and I think the lessons we learned from that era can be carried into this one. A concise mix with a personal touch is a powerful way to get someone to consider a song or artist in a way they might not just hearing it on the radio, and that’s the kind of experience I’m trying to replicate on Muxtape.
LP: Have you terminated any accounts for copyright reasons?
JO: I’ve had to send a couple emails, but I’m definitely spending more time right now fielding questions from artists and labels who are looking to get their music into Muxtape, not out of it.
Justin also discusses the revenue model for the site; currently select tracks feature “Buy MP3″ buttons which send listeners to the Amazon.com music shop – a feature that Justin says has worked out well. He also says that ads may be in the future, but “for now I’m focused on ways to generate revenue that are more harmonious with Muxtape’s nature and purpose.”