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Mixtapes return: thinner, lighter, and now with NFC

By Leigh D. Stark | 1:35 pm 14/02/2013

Before the days of email and MP3s, people used to record little mix tapes for friends, but when the cassette disappeared, so did this gesture of sharing music. Now, Australians have brought it back in a thinner and lighter format.

Designed to fit in a wallet, “Sharetapes” is the Australian answer to a world without shared music, connecting your online playlists from YouTube, Spotify, or any link you can think of – possibly your website – to either the QR code or NFC chip found inside a plastic card.

For many of us, the new form of mix tapes could be a way to return to the roots of sharing our favourite tunes or video playlists, with instructions supplied for how you share Spotify playlists, though you can even share other services by just grabbing the link to something and throwing it in the system, such as we did with one of the cards.

“Growing up I had a cassette player in my room and a bunch of mix-tapes my mum had given me, and it was where I discovered decades of music I probably wouldn’t have heard otherwise, which really shaped my musical taste,” said Sharetape’s Richard Dupe.

“These days we are suffered for choice; when you can listen to anything, how do you find something new? We’re hoping we can bring a little of that magic back.”

Near-Field Communication isn't the only tech at play here, with QR codes also able to be scanned.

About the only thing that’s missing from the system is the ability to re-use the “tapes” in an ongoing way like you can with a real cassette tape, though that is apparently coming.

“We are working on several new and exciting features of Sharetapes to be released in the coming weeks, including the ability to erase and re-record tapes,” said Mr. Dupe to GadgetGuy this week.

We programmed a Pandora station with our Sharetape.

The use of Near-Field Communication (NFC) means that quite a few phones can be pressed next to a card and automatically head to the link embedded on the card, including recent devices from Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and more.

Apple’s iPhone range still has yet to integrate NFC, so QR codes can be scanned on the back of the card, which will take people to the same programmed link.

While you could always share a link with email, what Sharetapes brings is a cool gimmick, especially since it lets us rekindle our love for sharing musical tastes. Now, if only we could do the same with vinyl.

Sharetapes are available online for $7 per pack of five card-based mix tapes.

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