The History of the Mix

The history of the personal mix only goes back about 50 years. Nonetheless, it has become a significant part of pop culture as well as in the process of growing up. The following timeline chronicles the evolution of the mix tape, to the mix CD and now to the digital playlists of the evolving forms of technology.

1963- Philips first introduces the magnetic cassette tape. Although it wasn't originally used for recording music, because the technology wasn't that advanced from the start, cassettes were used for recording dictation.

1970s- Club DJs, such as DJ Hollywood, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Breakout and Afrika Bambaataa began selling and distributing cassette copies of their club performances. For a larger price, they would even personalize the recordings for individual customers.

1974- Billboard Magazine wrote: "Tapes were originally dubbed by jockeys to serve as standbys for times when they did not have disco turntables to hand. The tapes represent each jockey's concept of programming, placing, and sequencing of record sides. The music is heard without interruption. One- to three-hour programs bring anywhere from $30 to $75 per tape, mostly reel-to-reel, but increasingly on cartridge and cassette."

1974- Hip Hop mixtapes, containing beatboxing, freestyles, remixes and voice- overs started emerging from up-and-coming rappers, as well as those who were already established in the rap community. They were sold illegally but were very instrumental to the developement of hip hop culture.

1974- Disco Par-rr-ty, the first non-stop dance LP was released. It featured artists such as Barry White and James Brown, and was an obvious tribute to the bootleg mixes being released at the time.

1979- Tape players in car entertainment systems grew more and more popular and their quality improved. Ultimately phased-out the 8 track by 1980.

1979- The Sony Walkman was released, further encouraging the use of cassettes.

1989- "Say Anything," a defining movie of the 80s, stars John Cusack as a slacker trying to win over the class valedictorian, Ione Skye. In the most recognizable scene from the movie, Cusack stands outside her window and plays Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" off a mix for her in order to show he loves her.

1995- Nick Hornby's book, "High Fidelity," was "the high point of traditional mix tape culture."

2000- John Cusack returns in the movie version of "High Fidelity," where he plays an obsessive record store owner. One of his many obsessions is his list for making the perfect mixtape.

2000- Jesse Bradford leaves a personalized mixtape for Kirsten Dunst in the movie "Bring It On."

2003- The Museum Communication in Hamburg, Germany features "Cassette Stories," an exhibition featuring stories by more than 80 mixtape lovers.

2007- The documentary "Mixtape, Inc."analyzes the influence of hip hop mixtapes in the growth of the culture, as well as the legal aspects.

2009- Apple introduces "iTunes DJ," which allows people to share customizable mixes and playlists with each other. They also release "Celebrity Playlists," which are downloadable mixes compiled by selected musicians.